Two men involved in a Grantham cannabis factory which was set to produce a million pounds worth of the illicit drug have been jailed for two years at Lincoln Crown Court.
Linh Mai Le and Tra Thank Hoang were arrested in January after police raided a unit at the industrial estate in Spring Gardens, off London Road, and discovered it had been converted to grow hundreds of cannabis plants.
Jonathan Straw, prosecuting, said: “The large shuttered doors at the front were forced. The two defendants appeared out of the fire exit at the back and were arrested.
“The inside of the building was divided into seven separate growing rooms with the plants at different stages of development. It was a sophisticated and industrial growth. There was irrigation, there was specialist lighting, air filtration, feeds, timer switches and fans. The walls were lined to maximise heat and light.”
A total of 1,574 cannabis plants were found inside the building with a potential yield of 56kgs of cannabis. The cannabis had a wholesale value of £566,000 but could have been sold for around twice as much when distributed on the streets.
Mr Straw said: “These men were on-site, live-in gardeners. We do not suggest that they were the brains behind the operation nor were they taking the profit from it.”
Le, 33, also known as Nam Van Le, and Hoang, 36, both of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to a charge of producing a Class B drug between November 1, 2012 and January 10, 2013.
Judge Michael Heath said: “This operation was capable of producing industrial quantities of cannabis for commercial use.”
Chris Jeyes, for Le, said he only came to the UK in the summer of last year after previously living in Russia and Poland.
He added: “He was initially supported by members of the Vietnamese community in London before he was offered work.
“He was eventually conveyed to Grantham where he was found. He regrets what he did and knows it was wrong.”
Saleem Khan, for Hoang, said he was living in “abject poverty” in his home country of Vietnam and was promised wealth if he came to the UK.
He added: “Initially he had no idea what he was getting himself into. He was just quite happy to obtain work and have a roof over his head. All he was doing was watering and cutting the saplings.”