Cannabis farmer jailed over £160,000 city house drug bust
A cannabis farmer who was caught harvesting a crop worth more than £160,000 in a Wakefield city centre house has been jailed.
Sali Hysa tried to run from officers when they attended the property at 9 Pinderfields Road in July, Leeds Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Robert Stevenson said that police had been acting on intelligence about a potential farm at the property.
They witnessed 22-year-old Hysa enter the property and when they knocked moments later, he tried to run out of the back gate where other officers were waiting.
They found 23 sapling plants in a growing tray, 75 large but non-mature plants across two bedrooms and loose cannabis being dried in the loft.
The electricity supply had been bypassed also.
In total, police estimated that the plants would have yielded nearly 8kg of the drug, with a street value of £67,500.
The loose cannabis was in two bags weighing 5.3kg and 5.6kg, with a combined estimated street value of £94,000.
In total, It was calculated that all of the cannabis found was worth £161,500 at street level, or £95,000 if moved on wholesale.
During interview, Hysa said that he moved to the UK from Albania in 2017 but claimed he did not know cannabis was being grown there.
He eventually admitted a charge of producing cannabis at his plea and trial preparation hearing. He appeared in court via video link from custody after being held on remand.
He has no previous convictions.
Mitigating, Emma Downing, said that although he admitted the charge, he was working under the instruction of others.
She said: "He came to this country hoping to gain employment and send some money back to his family in Albania.
"After his sentence, he wishes to return to his parents in Albania. He is remorseful.
"It was his intention to her looking for lawful work."
The judge, Recorder Ben Nolan QC jailed him for 18 months and said: "You were in charge of a property where cannabis was being grown on a commercial scale.
"I accept you were doing this under the control of others.
"Farmers are very rarely in charge of the cannabis farm.
"You were there to harvest the crop and take the risks."