Man guilty of running cannabis factory

Hundreds of cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £130,000 were discovered when police raided an illegal immigrant's house in Lowestoft, a court has heard.

Hundreds of cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £130,000 were discovered when police raided an illegal immigrant's house in Lowestoft, a court has heard.

Vietnamese national Thanh Vo, 44, pleaded guilty to growing nearly 500 plants at his home when he appeared before Lowestoft magistrates today.

The court was told how the plants, at various stages of growth, covered most of the floor space at Vo's semi-detached house in Europa Road.

Police raided the house yesterday after receiving a tip-off it was being used as a cannabis factory and discovered 488 plants and hydroponic growing equipment.

Colette Griffiths, prosecuting, said officers detected a strong smell of cannabis as soon as they entered the house and discovered a large number of plants covering the floor downstairs.

“Two of the larger bedrooms were set up in a similar way with cannabis plants on the floor and the loft space was also covered in plants,” added Mrs Griffiths.

Most Read

“The defendant is a Vietnamese man, who admitted he entered the country illegally. With the amount of plants that were found and the street value that they can obtain, the likely sentence will be more than the magistrates can put in place.”

Magistrates agreed and adjourned the case for sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court on a date to be fixed. Vo was remanded in custody.

Rob Barley, for Vo, said he did not currently accept the Crown Prosecution Service's valuation of the plants.

Acting Det Insp Angus Moir, of Suffolk police, appealed for anyone with suspicions about properties being used as cannabis factories to call police.

“We'd like to thank those who originally contacted us with concerns about these premises and ask residents and private landlords to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to us,” he said.

“The windows being covered, air conditioning units being installed, the property being unoccupied for long periods or frequent comings at the address could all be potential indicators, as are tenants who only pay landlords in cash.”

A police spokesman said a 17-year-old boy arrested during the raid in Europa Road had been released without charge.

t Anyone with information about drug crime should contact police on 01986 835300 or Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555111.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter