An electrician who was discovered hiding in a house with 121 cannabis plants last year has been sentenced. 

Julian Qerimaj, 30, was remanded in custody after police arrived at an address in Ipswich on February 7 last year with a view to arresting him.

Officers knocked and forced entry after seeing a man inside.

Qerimaj was found hiding in the building’s loft.

Inside one of the bedrooms, a total of 121 cannabis plants were discovered, as well as growing paraphernalia including transformers, lamps and bulbs.

A drugs expert gave what was described as a “conservative” estimate of the plants’ worth.

Given that these were juvenile plants, it was expected that the total yield would be 3.2kg of cannabis. If sold in bulk, it could be expected this would fetch £15,000.

If sold individually, it would be as much as £40,000.

The court heard that Qerimaj had been staying at the property for around two weeks and admitted to having watered the plants.

Although an electrician and painter by trade, he denied having installed the electrical fittings used in the grower and said he had been employed to carry out other renovations.

Qerimaj’s representation said that he had come to the UK from Albania, “an economic migrant who was sold a dream that did not materialise when he arrived here”.

The court heard that Qerimaj has now spent around 15 months in custody.

There was a considerable delay in his being charged with cultivation of cannabis earlier this year, an offence he admitted at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in March.

In sentencing Qerimaj on Wednesday, Recorder Sarah Przybylska said that this delay meant that the time he had served did not automatically count towards his sentence.

However, she made the decision to reduce his sentence, as she said that to do otherwise would place him in an “unfair and unjust” position.

She therefore passed a sentence of 18 months, reduced by one third in light of his guilty plea, and further reduced by eight months owing to the delay.

This lowered the total sentence to four months, of which Qerimaj has now served “all but a few days”.

However, Recorder Przybylska said that this was not to understate the severity of the offence.

“The cultivation of cannabis is a serious matter,” she said.