Ipswich: Two jailed over cannabis factory near police station

TWO illegal immigrants have been jailed following the discovery of a cannabis factory in a rented flat a stone’s throw from the town’s police station.

Hundreds of cannabis plants at various stages of development were found in each of the six rooms of the flat, which was owned by a policeman, including the kitchen and bathroom, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Emma Nash, prosecuting, said the total street value of all the plants was estimated at between �360,000 - �756,000.

She told the court that the flat in Lady Lane, Ipswich, had been modified to grow the cannabis and the landlord had been left with a bill running into thousands of pounds for damage caused to the premises.

Before the court were Quing He, 35 and Min He 22, who had both entered the country illegally.

Qing He denied producing cannabis but was found guilty after a trial and was jailed for 15 months. Min He admitted the charge and was jailed for 12 months.

Sentencing the men Judge John Devaux sdescribed the operation as a “significant commercial venture” and said that a forenisc scientist had estimated the annual yield of the crop to be 60-90kg of skunk cannabis.

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He accepted the men had been gardeners and had been acting under financial pressure.

The court heard police officers went to a block of flats in Lady Lane on March 9 after residents complained about seeing men wearing balaclavas and carrying a weapon . Officers initially knocked on the door of one of the flats to check the occupants were safe but arrested the two defendants in relation to their immigration status.

Officers subsequently discovered the cananbis factory in a neighbouring flat.

The electricity meter had been by-passed and the flat had been adapted for growing cananbis with the installation of automatic lighting systems and by covering the walls in foil.

Keys for the flat containing the cannabis were found in the neighbouring flat where the two defendants had been living and Qing He’s fingerprint was found on instructions for growing the cannabis.