Illegal immigrants jailed after discovery of cannabis factory
- Credit: Archant
Two illegal immigrants who were arrested following the discovery of a large cannabis factory in a small village on the Norfolk/Suffolk border have each been jailed for 20 months.
Police raided an industrial unit in Redgrave, near Diss, on Monday, March 25, after an electrician who was working in the area noticed the smell of cannabis, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Officers found more than 800 cannabis plants, a large amount of hydroponics equipment and paraphernalia inside the premise at Redgrave Business Centre on the edge of the village.
Matthew Sorel-Cameron, prosecuting, said the potential street value of the cannabis was estimated at £348,000 to £497,000.
Before the court were Eglant Selenica, 35, and 30-year-old Daniel Muhaj, both of Redgrave, who admitted producing cannabis.
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Sentencing them Judge John Devaux said: " I sentence you on the basis that you were both being exploited and you were what is commonly known as gardeners in this business."
The court heard that two men - not the defendants - rented the industrial unit in October 2018 claiming they needed somewhere to store materials.
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Police officers who attended the premises after an electrician noticed the smell of cannabis gained entry through a metal grill and found a large scale cannabis factory in five rooms containing a total of 829 cannabis plants in different states of maturity.
The two defendants, who didn't speak English, were found at an early stage of the search and were arrested.
The court heard that Muhaj had arrived illegally in the UK in the back of a lorry a month before his arrest.
The cost of being brought into the country was £8,000 and he was told he had to work in the cannabis factory to pay off the debt, said Philip Farr, prosecuting.
Stephen Mather for Selenica said his client had come to the UK illegally from Albania about four months before his arrest.
He was going to be paid £1,500 a month to water the cannabis plants but had only been there for 20 days when he was arrested and hadn't received any payment.