A man who grew 54 cannabis plants at his flat in Nelson was spared jail after a court heard the drugs were for him.

Linas Lasevicius, 20, owned up to growing the plants on the basis he may have allowed his friends to smoke some socially and to help cover the costs of production, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told the operation was an unsophisticated set-up in a tented area in a bedroom and was supported by halogen lamps, timers and fans. There was no hydroponic system.

Lasevicius, of Cooper Street, admitted producing cannabis, between April and May and received eight months in prison, suspended for a year, with 150 hours unpaid work. He must pay £300 costs.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said that on May 16, officers raided the defendant’s home above a barber's shop. They could smell cannabis.

Lasevicius let them in and the plants were found in a bedroom after the defendant unlocked the door. Plants were sent for analysis and were found to be capable of producing 1.2 kilos of drugs.

When interviewed, Lasevicius said it was the second crop he had tried to grow. He had bought the equipment on eBay and at car boot sales. He told police the drugs were for his own use.