Illegal immigrant in cannabis racket

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A Vietnamese illegal immigrant caught looking after a sophisticated cannabis farm in a Blackpool house has been jailed for a year.

A court heard dried plant material found there could alone have made up to £32,000 if sold in street deals.

Police also discovered 28 plants growing at the property on Common Edge Road last month.

If the plants had matured they could have produced a yield worth as much as £12,000.

Viet Nguyen, 22, appeared for sentencing at Preston Crown Court, having earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of producing cannabis.

He was told to pay a £100 surcharge and is liable for a possible deportation.

Police went to the house on March 22 following reports of a strong smell of cannabis coming from an address in that area.

Cannabis was found in three rooms.

David Clarke, prosecuting, said nearly three kilos of dried cannabis buds were found on a large sheet upon a back bedroom floor.

Some 22 plants were in another bedroom, wired to electrical timers and transformers.

Six others were in another room.

Police also found lights hanging down from the ceiling on wires and plant food in the bathroom.

Another 72 immature plants were found in the loft area where Nguyen was found hiding behind a light beam.

He was discovered when a constable heard movement from above and climbed into the loft space.

Janet Ironfield, defending, said Nguyen came to this country to get out of poverty, earn money and send it back to his retired parents.

He mainly came here by lorry and in Russia, one of the organisers took his passport.

He had planned to get work as a nail technician in a beauty parlour.

Miss Ironfield said: “He had no accommodation, no English skills, no income and no ability to get food. He is sorry for his involvement in this enterprise.”

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