A 34-year-old man has been sentenced to two years in prison for running an Ipswich cannabis factory.

Erion Nezaj, of Spring Road, previously pleaded guilty to producing and controlling cannabis and was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday.

Officers conducted a search warrant in Spring Road on January 19 after a tip-off from the public.

The court heard police found equipment that indicated a sophisticated grow operation, found walls of multiple rooms covered in silver material and there were water barrel dispensers and specialised lighting devices.

There were also concealed external cameras to monitor anyone approaching the building, Judge Richard Kelly told the court in his summary.

Nezaj was seen by police escaping through the back window of the property as they arrived and then went out of sight.

He was found in a nearby road by police and started running again, throwing a wheelie bin at pursuing police as he went, but he was eventually arrested, the court heard.

Nezaj was found with £800 which he claimed came from legitimate work he had done but Judge Kelly ordered this to be forfeited.

He was a ‘gardener’ in the factory and worked to maintain the plants according to prosecutor Charley Weldrick.

The court heard 195 plants were found inside but the judge said there was plainly someone above the defendant who arranged for the operation to be set up.

Nezaj is an asylum seeker from Albania who admitted he was in the factory for three weeks.

Defence barrister Andrew Thompson said in mitigation that Nezaj only had the limited function of feeding and watering the plants and said role was being performed under direction.

He added there was no evidence that showed a role in the set up of the operation.

Thompson also said Nezaj was “operating under some sort of pressure” and spoke of possible threats to family members but Judge Kelly said this was only an assertion because Nezaj had chosen not to give evidence to the court.

Judge Kelly concluded that he “played a crucial role” but took into account his lack of previous convictions in sentencing.