Albanian cannabis farmer caught in Hartlepool arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry, court hearing reveals
An Albanian man who was jailed for running a cannabis farm in Hartlepool had arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry.
A drugs gang threatened Alfred Borici, 26, that his family in Albania would be harmed if he did not act as a gardener for the crop worth £257,000 at the house in Milton Road, Hartlepool
Borici, who had no previous convictions, said that he arrived in London a year ago where he worked in the construction industry and when the job ended he was offered similar work in Newcastle but he was driven to the cannabis farm
Police raided the house at lunchtime on September 23 and they seized 306 plants in rooms on three floors, Teesside Crown Court was told
Prosecutor Jenny Haigh said that he told police that he was Albanian and he should not be in the country.
Borici let officers inside and they followed a bright light to discover the plants in incubators on the landing and in three bedrooms
He had been paid £100 every 10 days to buy food and drinks and told that at the end of the grow he would receive some money for his involvement, said Martin Scarborough defending
He had no previous convictions and he said that he had not been trafficked into the country, he was smuggled willingly in a lorry
Mr Scarborough added: “When he realised what work he was being asked to undertake he was less than wiling to agree but it was suggested to him that his family in Albania may be put in some danger if he did not agree so he agreed.
“After the loss of his job in London he was exploited by others and forced to take part in this enterprise.”
The judge told Borici that he faced being deported after he completed his sentence because he was illegally in this country
Judge Peter Armstrong said: “That is a matter for the Home Office and not for this court.
”You were pressured into working in that capacity because of threats about your family, however you agreed to do the work and received money for it and expected to receive a fairly substantial amount but you did not get that because of your arrest.”
Borici was jailed for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis