Man admits running drug factory

A CANNABIS grower is to be sentenced at crown court after admitting running a drug factory at an Ipswich house.

A CANNABIS grower is to be sentenced at crown court after admitting running a drug factory at an Ipswich house. Thau Nguyen, 38, of no fixed abode, ran the cannabis production operation at a house in Kingfisher Avenue, Ipswich, while on warrant from Blackfriars Crown Court for a similar offence.

The defendant, a failed asylum seeker from Vietnam, will appear at Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing on a date to be confirmed. He was remanded in custody until his Crown Court hearing.

At South East Suffolk's Magistrates court in Ipswich yesterday, he wore a suit and spoke through an interpreter to confirm his name, address and date of birth. There was no application for bail.

The chairwoman of the bench, Joan Overett, said: “In view of what we have heard this morning, this matter is going to be dealt with by sentence at the Crown Court.

“These offences were committed while you were on warrant for a similar matter. There are fears that you would fail to surrender and commit offences while on bail.”

Police who attended the house in the Chantry estate found 366 cannabis plants, some reaching up to two feet tall.

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The discovery of the factory on Monday follows three similar raids at other cannabis farms in Suffolk in the past month, yielding 3,000 plants in total.

On December 6, the Evening Star revealed that violent crime gangs are responsible for the rapidly increasing number of cannabis factories in Suffolk.

The growers, often from China or Vietnam, are often made to run the drug businesses to pay off debts to criminal organisations, such as for smuggling them into the country.

The drug barons behind the factories make hundreds of thousands of pounds a year by exploiting their “gardeners”, sometimes using extreme violence as a method of enforcement.

One house in Lister Road, Ipswich, which was raided on December 4, contained 841 plants and could have made up to £3million in illegal profit, police said.

The increasing presence of these gangs is such that Suffolk police are now making landlords aware of the potential threat to their property.

They are also urging the public to report any suspicious signs such as permanently covered windows, visitors at all hours, vents emerging from the roof or rear windows, pungent smells, noise from cooling fans or large amounts of soil and pots in the back garden.

Anyone who suspects a premises is a cannabis factory should call police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

n. What do you think should be done about the problem of drug factories? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email