Vietnamese man jailed over £300,000 Hartlepool cannabis farm after Cleveland Police raid

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A “sophisticated” Hartlepool cannabis farm was smashed as part of a police crackdown on drugs in the community.

Police raided an address on York Road when they uncovered a professionally set up operation containing 371 plants.

Teesside Crown Court heard the plants could produce cannabis worth between £103,000 and £311,000.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A Vietnamese man, who was living in the house and acting as the “gardener”, was arrested and has now been jailed.

Cannabis plants discovered at the address in York Road, Hartlepool. (Photos: Cleveland Police)Cannabis plants discovered at the address in York Road, Hartlepool. (Photos: Cleveland Police)
Cannabis plants discovered at the address in York Road, Hartlepool. (Photos: Cleveland Police)

Tam Nguyen, 21, pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and was sentenced to nine months immediate prison.

Prosecutor Tabitha Buck said police carried out the raid on January 25 this year as part of Operation Sycamore.

It was set up to tackle the supply of drugs within communities and associated antisocial behaviour.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Buck said: “At 10am officers attend the address and have had to force the front door.

The scene of the drugs raid in York Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REIDThe scene of the drugs raid in York Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
The scene of the drugs raid in York Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

"The front door had bolted locks that could be locked from the interior.”

Two rooms were being used to grow the plants while remnants of cannabis were found in black sacks.

Ms Buck added: “It was an operation capable of producing significant quantities for commercial use.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
The criminals starting more than 100 years combined in jail

Nguyen’s finger prints were found on bulbs in lights used to help the plants grow.

The court heard he had been in the UK around six years after paying an “extortionate amount” to come here, but later found himself with nowhere to live.

He was offered accommodation at the house in return for doing “a little bit of employment”.

Nicci Horton, mitigating, said Nguyen did not set up the cannabis farm and he had been exploited to some extent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “Once he was in the house he felt he had not many options other than to stay.

"He was what’s commonly referred to as a gardener.”

Nguyen’s case was assessed but it was decided he was not a victim of modern day slavery.

The judge, Recorder Aisha Wadoodi, said the farm was a “professional set up” and ordered all of the drugs and equipment to be destroyed.

Speaking at the time of the raid, Inspector Adrian Dack from Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This cannabis farm seizure is a direct result of us listening to our local communities, gathering information and acting upon their concerns.”