Strong smell and sound of fans through neighbour's wall gave away £150,000 Hartlepool cannabis farm
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Noni Selenica, 25, from Albania, who was living in the house and looking after the plants, was found in ground floor bedroom and arrested.
A Police Community Support Officer was sent to investigate reports the class B drug was being grown at the address.
On arrival outside, the officer noticed a strong smell of cannabis and the curtains appeared to be stuck closed, said Ellen Wright prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court.
The officer spoke to an elderly next door neighbour who invited the officer inside.
Ms Wright said: “Through the wall of the property the sound of high-powered fans could be heard.
“Cannabis could also be smelt through the wall. The resident explained that three males attended the property on an ad hoc basis.”
Two more police officers attended and gained entry to the property where the extent of the growth was discovered.
The plants were assessed by police as being worth between £51,000 and £153,000 if sold at street level.
Selenica, now of no fixed address, told police he had been at the house for about six weeks.
Ms Wright added: “He stated he was taken to the property by someone who had promised him work.
"He admitted growing the plants in exchange for payment and he stated he knew it was illegal to grow the plants.”
Ian Mullarkey, defending, said in mitigation his client agreed to tend the cannabis mainly because it gave him somewhere safe to live.
He said: “He left Albania, his country of origin, in search of a better life for himself.
"Because of the way he’d entered the UK he wasn’t able to avail himself of any Government support.
"Because of his status and limited resources he was to some extent vulnerable to exploitation.”
Mr Mullarkey said Selenica had no stake in the cannabis or influence over its owner who he did not know.
Recorder John Aitken jailed him for six months and ordered all of the cannabis and equipment seized to be destroyed.