Prison for man found tending to cannabis plants worth Â£98,000
HUNDREDS of cannabis plants worth up to Â£98,000 were found growing at a house by police.
Officers searching the three-bedroom home in Well Meadow, Havant, found 65 mature plants, 54 plants cut and drying, and 275 immature plants.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the mature and drying plants could have been worth between £32,760 and £98,280.
The set-up was being tended to by Albanian national Klisman Prela who was found at the home on October 28.
‘The three-bedroom residential property had in effect been converted into a modest but nonetheless significant cannabis factory,’ prosecutor Ed Hand said.
Prela, 25, had paid £9,500 to travel illegally to the country and tried to earn a living at a car wash to pay off the debt.
But he was put under pressure to work at the cannabis factory when he couldn’t keep up with the repayments, his lawyer said.
He faces being deported after serving a two-year prison sentence imposed by a judge who said he was a ‘victim of circumstance’.
Sentencing, judge Linda Sullivan QC said: ‘It could be said that you’ve brought this upon yourself, being an illegal immigrant.
‘But having arrived here you were put in a very difficult situation and it’s well known that such people are put under pressure by those that employ people like you.
‘To some extent you are the victim of your own circumstances.’
Prela, who has no previous convictions in the UK, admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis, a class B drug.
Bridget O’Hagan, mitigating, said: ‘He tried his very best not to be involved in this activity.
‘He was asked to do it to pay back the debt.
‘He did not want to be involved. He got a job as a bricklayer, it was insufficient to pay the debt.
‘Significant pressure was put on him.
‘He survived in this country for six months on a very, very small income putting off the pressure put on him to be involved in this activity.’
She added: ‘It was not the right decision and not one he took lightly.’
Prela gave a full account to police after he was arrested, the court heard.