A MAN who secretly grew dozens of cannabis plants in his mother’s house to pay off a drug debt has been ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

Police found 22 plants, a hydroponics system and lights rigged up in a room at the Darlington home of Liam Crang, magistrates in Newton Aycliffe were told.

The plants were discovered after police found a bag of cocaine in Crang’s car on April 26, the court heard.

Prosecutor David Wood said Crang, 20, of McMullen Road, was stopped in his Vauxhall Astra, at junction 59 on the A1 at 11.30am.

Police found a small bag of white powder later confirmed to be cocaine, the court heard.

Officers then searched Crang’s home where they found the plants, which were about 30cm tall.

Graham Hunsley in mitigation said the house belonged to Crang’s mother but she had no idea he was growing the drugs there.

Mr Hunsley said the crop was Crang’s first attempt at growing cannabis which he decided to do after racking up drug debts.

He said the 20-year-old watched videos on Youtube to find out how to grow the class B drug.

Mr Hunsley said Crang, who admitted possessing a class A drug and producing the cannabis plants, may well be kicked out by his mother.

Magistrates gave Crang a 12 month community order with supervision and 100 hours unpaid work.

He must also pay £60 victim surcharge.