A restaurant worker who was caught managing a cannabis farm has been jailed for 12 months.
Mencur Koka was found hiding behind plants and a water container when police were called to a house in Hartlepool.
An anonymous call alerted officers to a disturbance at the house in Hereford Street, prosecutor Emma Atkinson told Teesside Crown Court.
“A man was seen leaving the rear of the house,” said Ms Atkinson. “He was arrested but not charged.
“It is thought an attempt was being made to steal the crop. A search of the property found an organised cannabis grow in four rooms and the loft.
“Mr Koka was hiding inside. He declined to make any complaint about the other man.”
The court heard there was 120 cannabis plants and 108 seedlings in the house.
“The potential yield from a single crop would be £66.000,” said Ms Atkinson.
“Based on three crops a year, the annual yield would be worth around £198,000.”
Koka, 23, of The Grove, Hodnet, Shropshire, admitted production of a Class B drug on October 22, last year.
Julian Gaskin, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Koka is Albanian and admits he came to this country illegally to work.
“He found employment in the restaurant trade in Shrewsbury, then he accepted an offer to move to Hartlepool to manage the cannabis grow.
“He was paid a small amount of money, with the promise of a share in the eventual profits.
“Mr Koka has no previous convictions in this country, and he tells me he has none in Alabania.
“Since being in prison on remand, he has used his time well taking courses in English and mathematics.”
The Recorder, Mr Tim Roberts QC, sentenced Koka to 12 months in prison.
The recorder told him: “You involved yourself in a serious offence of cannabis production.
“It is clear there was to be commercial gain from this enterprise which had the potential to generate a lot of money.”