Two men jailed over £350k Sutton Bridge cannabis farm

Two men who grew more than 400 cannabis plants worth up to £350,000 at a house in Lincolnshire have each been jailed for 14 months.

Police officers found 423 cannabis plants at a property on Allenby's Chase in Sutton Bridge in February.

Denis Xibraku, 24, and Halil Copani, 34, both of no fixed address, admitted a charge of producing cannabis between 1 January and 22 February 2024.

They were jailed at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday 25 March.

The court was told police carried out a raid on 21 February after evidence from a police drone showed a "large heat source" coming from the property.

Philip Plant, prosecuting, said officers gained entry by breaking iron gates that were placed across a drive leading to the property.

Officers found one man on the roof and another hiding in the loft space, the court was told.

The court also heard neither man had any previous convictions in the UK.

Neil Sands, mitigating for Copani, said his client now faced deportation and just wanted to return to his family in Albania.

Mr Sands told the court Copani was taken to Boston after arriving in the UK and told he would have to work to pay off the £25,000 fee for entering the UK illegally.

"It is a sad story this court has heard many times before," Mr Sands said.

Leanne Summers, mitigating for Xibraku, said he had arrived in the UK in 2019 and initially worked in a car wash after trying to claim asylum.

Recorder Justin Wigoder told both men: "I accept you were both employed as gardeners and caretakers of what was a highly commercial cannabis grow.

"This was a very professional criminal exercise. If police had not arrived, there would have been crop, after crop, after crop."

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