Pair jailed after Hartlepool drugs den raid

Two men have been jailed after police seized cannabis worth nearly £80,000 at a drugs den.

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 4:45 am

The pair were Albanians in possession of false documents when they were arrested on October 27 last year in a raid on the property in Cornwall Street, Hartlepool.

Vehicle checks showed Halil Biba, 30, had made four trips up to Hartlepool from Birmingham, Teesside Crown Court was told.

His phone had drug photographs and a text message from a caller asking for the price of drugs.

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The Hartlepool case was heard at Teesside Crown Court, in Middlesbrough. Picture by FRANK REID

Haki Ibrahimaj, 25, said he had entered the UK illegally after obtaining fake documents abroad and was working at the den to pay off debts.

Philip Morley, prosecuting, said drugs were being grown in two upstairs bedrooms and the attic in a professional cannabis farm.

The value of the supplies was £78,110.

Martin Scarborough, defending Biba, said the pair had been in Durham Prison since October and were confined to their cells for 23 hours day because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Ian Mullarkey, defending Ibrahimaj, said that they had no previous convictions.

Judge James Brown said: ”It was clearly a large scale operation using professional equipment

“I am satisfied that you Mr Biba had more knowledge of the operation and performed jobs above that of a gardener as is evidenced by text messages and trips to Hartlepool “

He added the pair would probably be released immediately with supervision for 12 months because of their time served on remand.

Ibrahimaj, of Cornwall Street, was jailed for 11 months and Biba, of Packwood Road, Birmingham, for 16 months after they both admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis and possession of false documents.

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