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Ipswich: Immigrants are jailed for huge drugs operation run from upmarket house in Henley Road

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 March 2014

A police cordon at the property in Henley Road, Ipswich, where 1,500 cannabis plants were found

A police cordon at the property in Henley Road, Ipswich, where 1,500 cannabis plants were found

Archant

Two illegal immigrants who were involved in a huge cannabis farm in an upmarket house in Ipswich have each been jailed for 30 months.

Thirteen rooms of the large detached house in Henley Road had 767 plants growing in them with an estimated street value of £1million.

Before Ipswich Crown Court were Blerim Mema, 21, and Graci Fekolari, 29, both of Henley Road, and who admitted producing cannabis on February 14 this year.

Jailing the men, Judge John Holt said they had been involved in a “sophisticated and elaborate cannabis farm”.

He said the eight bedroom house had been rented for £7,700 a month from October 1 2013 and the rent was up to date when police raided the premises on February 14.

He said the wholesale value of the cannabis was estimated at between £100,000 and £500,000 with an estimated street value of £1m.

“You are both illegal immigrants from Albania and you were both looking after this operation for five months. It was a skilled task and you were motivated by financial advantage,” said the judge.

He said Mema had told police he was paid £200 a month and had been promised a bonus when the crop was harvested. On a previous occasion the court heard that the defendants were found hiding among the plants when police raided the premises.

Steven Dyble, for Fekolari, said his client had come to the UK looking for a better life and had been exploited by the organisers of the cannabis operation.

Charles Myatt, for Mema, said his client’s dream had been to come to the UK to work legally and it was never his intention to get involved in criminal activity.

The court heard the defendants will automatically be deported after they have served their sentences.

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