An illegal immigrant who went on the run was caught at a Blackpool home which being used as a cannabis farm – with drugs worth £73,000 inside.
Thai Nguyen was discovered in an upstairs bedroom of the property on Regency Gardens, North Shore, where drugs were being grown.
At the time, in July, the Vietnamese national had jumped police bail over his links with a separate cannabis farm in Sale, South Manchester, where a large scale cannabis growing operation – which could have brought in over £180,000 – had come to light in 2011.
Preston Crown Court heard how county court bailffs and a director of property services went to the Blackpool address, to take possession of the house, on July 18.
The police were called when the cannabis farm was then found.
Bob Elias, prosecuting, said 160 of the plants appeared to have reached maturity. There was the potential for six and a half kilos of the drug, with a possible street value of up to £73,000.
It was also found the electricity had been bypassed.
Nguyen, 27, (pictured) pleaded guilty to two charges of cultivating cannabis, plus one of ‘abstracting’ electricity.
He was jailed for three years, four months.
Julie Taylor, defending, said Nguyen had come to the UK with his sister, hoping to find work, settle down and apply to stay here.
But he could not find work, could not claim benefits because of his status and the only “work” he could find was being put to use in a cannabis factory.
He went to Blackpool to look for his sister, the court was told.
He then decided to try and find work to fund his passage back to Vietnam.
Miss Taylor said: “He ended up being exploited by others.
“He was promised that if he did work he would get his air fare paid to get back to Vietnam.
“He didn’t have any control over the operation, or those above him. He was very much a minion.”