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Man found on roof of Thorpe cannabis factory after raid by police

PUBLISHED: 16:36 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 02 May 2019

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

The gardener of a cannabis factory in Thorpe containing plants worth up to £71,000 was found on the roof when police raided, a court has heard.

Police executed a warrant at a property on South Hill Road, Thorpe St Andrew, and found 244 cannabis plants in three separate rooms of the property.

Xhemal Molla, 29, was arrested after being found on the roof of the property with his passport.

Dan Taylor, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said police found 48 plants in one room, 47 in another, 93 in the loft with a further 56 elsewhere in the property.

All the plants were found with the associated lighting and heating paraphernalia.

Mr Taylor said it was a “cannabis production operation capable of producing a significant amount of cannabis for commercial use”.

He says the potential street value of the drugs was between £53,437 and £71,250.

Mr Taylor said that the defendant was interviewed and admitted to being the gardener.

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He said the defendant he had been brought by lorry from Albania and was told to work for the person who had brought him here although had not known what that would involve.

Mr Taylor had said Molla left his native country following issues with his family, including his father being in prison and his mother being unwell and both being in debt.

He had been at the address for about three weeks when police raided on February 6 this year.

Molla, of no fixed address, appeared at court on Thursday (May 2) with an interpreter in the dock for sentence having previously admitted production of cannabis.

Sentencing Molla to eight months in prison, Judge Stephen Holt said he accepted it was lesser role.

He said he thought the defendant was a vulnerable person who had been “taken advantage of”.

Judge Holt said he would serve half his sentence and then be released on licence for 12 months.

John Morgans, mitigating, said his client, who has no previous convictions either here or in Albania, played a “lesser role”.

He said he had shown remorse following his conviction and was embarrassed to find himself in this situation.

Mr Morgans said his client now just wanted to return to his home country.

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