Two men found hiding in cupboard at cannabis factory

Police and forensic officers at the cannabis factory, Morgan Way at Bowthorpe. Picture: DENISE BRADL

Police and forensic officers at the cannabis factory, Morgan Way at Bowthorpe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant 2021

Two men were found hiding in a cupboard when police raided a cannabis factory set up in an industrial unit in Bowthorpe, Norwich.

Michael Petsalarh, 26, of no fixed address and Sadik Meduli, 21, had been acting as gardeners tending the 527 cannabis plants which were found growing in the Morgan Way unit, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Nathalie Carter, prosecuting, said that plants were in various stages of growth and said that one room in the building had been turned into living accommodation.

"A bedroom had been made out of an office with two single beds. It was clear at least two people had been living there for some time, Both defendants were found hiding in a cupboard."

She said when they came out of hiding they were fully compliant with officers.

She said that they had both been acting as gardeners and tending the plants. Ms Carter said that six mobile phones were seized and £110 in cash.

Petsalarh and Meduli both admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis on February 1.

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Petsalarh was jailed for 16 months and Meduli was jailed for 18 months.

Sentencing them, Recorder William Clegg QC told them: "You two men were the gardeners who were cultivating the cannabis plants. Each of you must have had an understanding of the scale of the operation and without your gardening skills the plants would not have grown."

He said they were paid for their work as gardeners but not given any significant financial reward.

He added: "Neither of you were organisers of the cannabis growing operation and were effectively employees performing to some extent as reluctant ones."

Andrew Oliver, for Petsalarh, said that he had been living in Greece but had moved to the UK legally.

He said that he had been forced to work in the cannabis factory by an Albanian gang.

He said that he had only been at the factory for about six to eight weeks and said: "He was threatened and he obeyed."

Steven Dyble, for Meduli, said he was of previous good character and was also lawfully in the UK.

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