September 21, 2021 12.39 pm

Man avoids jail after £380k weed farm found in Gainsborough

He told police he was only there to crop the plants

An Albanian man was given a suspended jail sentence after police found over 500 cannabis plants worth more than £380,000 at a three storey house in Gainsborough.

Olsi Ferhati, 29, was arrested on February 16 after officers raided the home in Hotspur Road.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Ferhati had no role in setting up the cannabis farm but was at the property to crop some of the plants.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said officers found three growing rooms in the house and a nursery for seedlings in a cupboard under the stairs.

The court heard 62 mature cannabis plants were discovered in the dining room.

Miss Leonard told the court: “It was sophisticated in that there was artificial lighting, the electricity metre had been bypassed and the water supply was from the bathroom.”

A further 55 cannabis plants were found in an upstairs bedroom, along with 118 mature plants in the attic and 333 cannabis seedlings under the stairs.

Police drugs experts estimated the crop had a total possible street value of between £381,000 and £636,000 depending on how it was sold.

Ferhati was arrested, but during police interview said he had no role in setting up the cannabis farm or producing the drug.

Charges against a second Albanian man found at the property were dropped after it was discovered he was a victim of modern slavery.

Ferhati insisted he had only gone to the property to harvest 30 plants and was unaware that it was a much bigger operation.

Howard Ewing, mitigating, told the court Ferhati had no previous convictions and only became involved after losing his job due to the pandemic.

“This behaviour was totally out of character,” Mr Ewing added.

Mr Ewing said Ferhati was normally hardworking but found himself living in Gainsborough with a number of other Albanian men after leaving his wife and young child in London.

Ferhati, previously of Hotspur Road, Gainsborough, admitted a single charge of being concerned in the production of cannabis.

He was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for two years.

Passing sentence Judge Catarina Sjolin-Knight said: “This was a professional operation designed to produce a rolling harvest.”

But the judge told Ferhati: “I accept you did not know the scale of the operation.”

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