Jail for 'gardeners' in Royston cannabis factory

PUBLISHED: 17:06 11 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:14 11 May 2010

TWO Vietnamese immigrants who were the gardeners for a sophisticated cannabis factory in Royston were jailed today (Monday) for two years. Tuan Hoang and Hoa Phan, who were living in the house, will be deported at the end of their sentences, said Judge

TWO Vietnamese immigrants who were the "gardeners" for a sophisticated cannabis factory in Royston were jailed today (Monday) for two years.

Tuan Hoang and Hoa Phan, who were living in the house, will be deported at the end of their sentences, said Judge Richard Foster at Luton Crown Court.

They both pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at a house in Melbourne Road and also to abstracting electricity.

Prosecutor Alan Landsbury said that on October 12 last year police raided the house which had been rented out to a Chinese woman in May.

"The two defendants decamped from the rear of the house but were soon apprehended," said the barrister.

Inside, officers found cannabis plants growing in every single room. There were 185 fully grown plants and 301 immature ones. Once they had been fully grown the total cannabis yield would have sold for between £92,000 and £138,000, said the prosecution.

"The electricity meter had been by-passed and it is estimated that electricity worth £9,800 had been extracted during the operation," said Mr Landsbury.

Chris Strachan, defending both men, said Phan, 41, had only been in the country a short time and had been in the house for about a week.

He said 38-year-old Hoang had entered the country illegally hoping to obtain work in a nail bar, but that was not available and he agreed to help out at the premises.

"They were looking after the plants and although it was a fairly sophisticated operation it had been set up and maintained by someone else before they came on the scene," said Mr Strachan.

Judge Foster told the two men: "You knew exactly what you were doing because when police arrived you attempted to escape.

"Those involved in the cultivation of cannabis must be punished because, although it is one of the less serious illicit drugs, it is nevertheless a drug which exacerbates a wide range of psychiatric and psychological disorders.

"Very large sums of money can be made, maybe not by you but by others, but without the likes of you who are prepared to do what you did those higher up the chain cannot operate.

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