Police uncover £30,000 cannabis factory inside two-bed Ipswich flat
A 19-year-old man has admitted producing cannabis after police uncovered an operation thought to be worth £30,000 inside an Ipswich flat.
Klodian Nikoci pleaded guilty to producing the class B drug at an address in St George's Street between the time of his arrival in the country, by lorry last month, and the time of his arrest following the execution of a warrant by police on Tuesday.
The Albanian national, who appeared in custody at Suffolk Magistrates' Court the following morning, was arrested after being seen clambering from a rear window of the property and onto a neighbouring roof.
When police entered the two-room flat, they found one room full of growing equipment, including heaters, lights and ventilators, and another room filled with 43 mature cannabis plants, each between three and four feet tall.
Prosecutor Ian Devine said the electricity meter had been bypassed to power the equipment used in cultivating the plants, which he said were ready to be harvested and could each yield an estimated £700 of cannabis on the street.
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"This was a professional set-up, without a shadow of a doubt," he added.
"The evidence suggests this defendant could be colloquially described as a 'gardener', whose role was to water and feed the plants.
"He arrived by illegal entry about a month ago and was transported to this particular address to look after the cannabis growth."
Nikoci, who was thought to have been sleeping on a camp bed inside the flat, offered no comment to questions during a police interview but admitted the offence via video link in court.
Dino Barricella, mitigating, argued that Nikoci's early guilty plea, relatively young age, lack of previous convictions, and lesser role in the operation, could allow magistrates to pass a sentence within their limited powers.
However, the bench decided to commit sentencing to Ipswich Crown Court on a date to be advised and refused Mr Barricella's application for Nikoci to be released on bail under strict conditions to report to police twice a day.
Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report from the probation service to address the potential impact of a custodial sentence.