An Albanian man was put to work at a Norfolk cannabis factory to pay back £2,500 given to him in to fund an operation his father had in his homeland, a court has heard.

Artenis Shehu, 20, was found after police raided a property at Millview in Ormesby St Margaret, close to the Broads, where about 30 cannabis plants were found with an estimated yield value of £225,000.

Eastern Daily Press: Millview, Ormesby St MargaretMillview, Ormesby St Margaret (Image: Google)Norwich Crown Court heard Shehu owed a debt to "organised criminals" for an "operation which had been carried out on his father" in Albania where there is no equivalent of the NHS in this country.

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich Crown CourtNorwich Crown Court (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said following the police raid on June 6 this year Shehu "ran out the back door of the property" but was detained by officers.

Inside the property police found a "significant amount of growing equipment" as well as dead cannabis plants and at least 30 "well established" ones in a number of rooms.

Also found were more than 40 empty pots which had "either been used to grow cannabis or where a new crop was to be put in".

Mr Ivory said the crown accepted Shehu, who had been in this country since last summer, had been a "gardener" at the property where cannabis with a yield value of around £225,000 were found.

Shehu, of no fixed abode, appeared at court on Wednesday (October 18) after admitting being concerned in the production of cannabis.

Eastern Daily Press: Artenis ShehuArtenis Shehu (Image: Norfolk Constabulary)Judge Andrew Shaw said it was a "sophisticated set-up" which had "all the hallmarks" of "serious organised crime".

Eastern Daily Press: Judge Andrew ShawJudge Andrew Shaw (Image: Newsquest)Jailing Shehu for 12 months, Judge Shaw said: "The message has got to go out that being exploited by serious organised criminals is not a get out of jail free card."

He added that Shehu had made choices to involve himself in the enterprise.

Danielle O'Donovan, mitigating, said he had offered a plea at the "earliest opportunity" and had been a gardener at the property for between 20 and 25 days before his arrest.

She said he had been working to pay back a debt and "put to work in this operation".

Miss O'Donovan said his role was "extremely limited".