Blackpool cannabis farm valued at £236,000 leads to two 'exploited' Vietnamese people jailed

A man and a woman from Vietnam have been jailed for eight months each over their roles in a cannabis farm in Blackpool that had more than 600 plants.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 4:24 pm
The scene at Charnley Road in June

Hung Nguyen, 28, and Huong Nguyen, 36, were both brought into the country illegally, lured by promises of a fruitful life, Preston Crown Court was told.

Both ended up looking after a cannabis farm housed in a property on Charnley Road, Blackpool.

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Two arrested after police discover large-scale cannabis farm in Blackpool

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On her arrival she was threatened. She was not paid anything for looking after the farm but was ';allowed to sleep there' and was given food.

Hung Nguyen's family agreed to pay traffickers the equivalent of £30,000 to bring him from Ukraine - where he had been working in Chinese restaurants - to the UK, the court was told.

He was brought in the back of a lorry and had believed he was working to pay off the debt owed by his family.

Prosecuting, Paul Cummings said: " Police attended with a warrant and found a very large number of plants, over three floors in the building, and in seven rooms.

"In total there were 603 cannabis plants in differing stages of growth.

"The prosecution say the street value was just over £236,000 - because the yield would be 18.9 kilos.

The court heard Huong Nguyen was arrested at the scene straightaway, while Hung Nguyen was arrested a short time later trying to hide in the loft space.

In interview, Hung Nguyen was asked why he had come to Blackpool and he replied: "To look around this beautiful place."

Defending Miss Nguyen, Julie Taylor said she had been taken advantage of and had trusted a man who had let her down.

The defendant hopes to persuade he Home Office to let her stay in this country as she has nothing and nobody back in Vietnam.

Defending Hung Nguyen, Rachel Woods said: " It's a very familiar story. He left his home country to go to Ukraine originally in 2015 to try and find his mother.

"He worked there in various capacities. He was promised a more lucrative life in the UK and so it was he was transported illegally to the UK in the back of a lorry.

"His family in Vietnam paid the equivalent of £30,000 with the promise of good fortune in this country."

At first he worked in Birmingham restaurants, but was "promised a fruitful life" in Blackpool and was housed in Charnley Road with his co defendant.

She added: "He was left there with his co defendant with no means to leave, no way to leave, no friends or family nearby to turn to, but with instructions to tend to the plants.

He would be visited fortnightly with food and summaries.

"It was his understanding that to do so would pay off the debt his family owed the traffickers, but as it usually the case the debt was not paid off."

Both admit conspiracy to produce cannabis.

Recorder Andrew Nuttall jailed both defendants for eight months and said their basis of pleas made for "sad reading".