Man who helped grow cannabis at glamping site is jailed

Cannabis plants. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Cannabis plants. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A caravan and two trailers on a glamping site were turned into a makeshift cannabis factory where more than 250 plants were grown, a court has heard.

Bekim Vladi, 34, spent around four months living in a caravan on a glamping site in Whittington, near King's Lynn, where he tended to a cannabis farm in exchange for food and shelter.

Vladi, an Albanian seeking asylum in England, was one of three people involved in the operation, which saw plants grown inside the van and two trailers before being detected by police on February 1.

Having pleaded guilty to being involved in the production of cannabis at an earlier hearing, Vladi was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Monday for his role in the operation.

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, told the court that some 265 mature cannabis plants were found in the makeshift factory, which was being rented by "a man called Bez" for £500 per month.

He said the caravan was separated in two, with one half being used for residential purposes by Vladi and one other man, while the other half was used for growing the plants, along with two trailers also kept on site.

He added: "There is no suggestion the defendant was doing anything other than looking after the crop."

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While Vladi pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, one of his co-defendants ended a guilty plea at a separate crown court hearing, while the third will stand trial in the same court at a later date.

Tomas McGarvey, for Vladi, said his client was of previous good character with no previous convictions, and that he had been working as a cleaner and litter collector in prison while awaiting his sentence. 

He added that he had spent 47 days in custody already and had lodged an application for permanent asylum in the country - having arrived illegally.

He said: "This is the first time he has engaged in this type of engagement and made admissions from the moment the police entered his makeshift home."

Handing Vladi a six-month jail sentence, of which he must serve three months, Judge Stephen Holt said it was clear he had played "very, very much a lesser role" in the operation.