Pair jailed after police uncover £1.3m cannabis factory

Taulant Blloku and Florenc Prrenjasi

Taulant Blloku and Florenc Prrenjasi have been jailed for growing cannabis at an address in Dovercourt - Credit: Essex Police

Two men have been jailed after cannabis with a street value of £1.3million was found at an address near Harwich.

Taulant Blloku, 27, and Florenc Prrenjasi, 19, were charged with producing cannabis following the discovery on June 26 last year.

It followed reports from residents of a strong smell of cannabis and an increase in anti-social behaviour around Hill Road.

Harwich town centre team officers, Pc Steph Triscott and Pc Neil Gibson traced the smell to a house in Dovercourt High Street.

After observing signs of cannabis being grown from a nearby shop roof, the officers visited the address and arrested the two men on suspicion of cultivating cannabis.

When asked what he was doing at the house, Prrenjasi replied: “Growing cannabis”.

A total of 500 plants were found.

High Street Dovercourt cannabis factory

Inside the cannabis factory in Dovercourt - Credit: Essex Police

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Prrenjasi, of Woodbine Terrace, in Annfield Plain, County Durham, and Blloku, of Berkeley Avenue, Greenford, in Middlesex, admitted the offences at court last year.

They were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday.

Blloku was jailed for three years and two months, while Prrenjasi was jailed for two years and two months.

Sergeant Aaron Heard, of Harwich's community policing team, said: “During police interview, both Prrenjasi and Blloku described how their families were in debt and they had taken on the job of growing cannabis for other people in order to earn money to pay off these debts.

“They were also fearful of the people who employed them and what would happen to them or their families if they didn’t continue.

“Sadly, this is the reality behind the drugs trade. Criminals exploit people who are vulnerable and employ them to grow or sell drugs on their behalf. Once drawn into this criminal world, they then find it difficult to get out because of fear of violence, or what would happen to them if they tried to get out.

“It’s why Essex Police is working every single day to target criminals involved in drugs supply and working to protect those they abuse and exploit.

“If you have information about drug dealing in your community, or are worried someone you know is being exploited, tell us so we can take appropriate action.”