August 6, 2021 5.50 pm This story is over 33 months old

Lincoln drug farmer jailed as raids find £400k of weed

Over 500 plants were found across three properties

Cannabis plants capable of producing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of the drug were found during police raids on properties across Lincoln, the city’s Crown Court was told on Friday.

The initial find came after officers stopped a car in the city on May 3, 2020 and arrested the occupants.

As a result, a property in Rosemary Lane was searched. Nothing was found there but officers then went to an address in Ripon Street which was linked to the car.

Ryan Thompson, prosecuting, said: “Three rooms were being used for the growing of cannabis. Each room was kitted out with lamps and fans. The electricity meter had been bypassed.”

Mr Thomspon said 276 cannabis plants were found at the property with a further 40 plants in a neighbouring flat. The plants were capable of producing up to £176,000 worth of cannabis.

In May this year police received a report that a house in Shakespeare Street, off Lincoln High Street, was being used for cannabis growing.

Officers called at the property but received no reply and the house was then kept under surveillance by plain clothes police.

A car driven by Elton Nika turned up and shortly afterwards Nika’s brother Edison came out of the house.

Mr Thompson said Edison Nika was approached by police but ran off and jumped into his brother’s car which was reversed at speed and then driven away.

The vehicle was driven onto the High Street on the wrong side of the road and headed towards the city centre. The car was later seen in Kesteven Street where the Nika brothers and Benard Vladi were seen to get out. All three men were then arrested.

The house in Shakespeare Street was then searched and 248 cannabis plants were found within three rooms used for growing the plant. The electricity meter had been bypassed. The yield from the plants could potentially have produced £142,000 worth of cannabis.

Vladi’s home in Rosemary Lane was also searched. A further 182 cannabis plants were found capable of producing £103,000 worth of the drug.

Elton Nika, 23, of no fixed address, admitted three charges of producing cannabis and a further charge of dangerous driving. He was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for 39 months.

Edison Nika, 19, of no fixed address, and Benard Vladi, 21, of Rosemary Lane, Lincoln, were each given an eight month jail sentence after admitting one charge of producing cannabis.

Recorder Jacob Hallam QC told them: “This was an operation capable of producing significant quantities of cannabis for commercial use.”

Barristers representing the three men said they were gardeners acting under the influence of other criminals.

David Eager, for Elton Nika, said: “He is a vulnerable young man who ended up in debt to others and as a result was repaying that by working as a gardener.”

Michael Cranmer-Brown, for Edison Nika, said he arrived in the UK from Albania looking for work and believed he was going to be employed on a construction site only to find he was being asked to look after cannabis plants.