Man jailed after cannabis farm worth up to £180,000 was found on three floors of Hartlepool building

An Albanian has been jailed for nine months for being the gardener at a cannabis farm worth up to almost £180,000 in Hartlepool.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 1:49 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 2:12 pm
Cleveland Police uncovered the cannabis farm in Milton Road. Picture: Cleveland Police.

Haziz Bruci, pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis in the town when he appeared before Teesside Crown Court.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Albania and has an address, as well as family and friends, in London, was living at a property in the town’s Milton Road, when police raided the premises in October this year.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said once inside the building officers could see bright orange lights coming from the rear of the property and there were cables coming from the meter cupboard where the electricity was being by-passed.

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Cleveland Police uncovered the cannabis farm in Milton Road. Picture: Cleveland Police.

She said: “The defendant was inside the property. He was in the front bedroom and he was arrested.

“The cannabis farm consisted of five grow rooms over three floors.”

Ms Haigh said a total of 213 cannabis plants, including 100 small cuttings, were found in the property, along with a large number of lamps and other growing equipment.

She said police described it as a ‘profitable, commercial enterprise’ and the drugs could have a street value of between £59,640 and £178,920 and the larger amount would probably be expected.

Andrew Turton, defending, said Bruci has been living in the UK for four years and was registered with the Home Office in Scotland.

He said: “He had been in Hartlepool for approximately four weeks prior to his arrest.

“The defendant does maintain that he was placed under pressure to attend this house in Hartlepool.”

Mr Taunton said the cannabis growing operation was already set up before his client arrived and he was told to water the plants.

He said: “He was in possession of a mobile phone. He had the facility of leaving the house by one of the doors but was fearful of doing so.

Judge Howard Crowson said as the gardener in a commercial cannabis growing operation the guidelines put Bruci’s part as a lesser role.

However, the defendant, who was assisted in the proceedings by an interpreter, was jailed for 36 weeks.