POLICE officers discovered a cannabis factory capable of producing almost half a million pounds worth of the drug in a year when they searched a house in Leeds.
A court heard 383 plants were found growing in every room of the property on Landseer Grove, Bramley, when they went to arrest a man on a European Arrest Warrant.
Leeds Crown Court heard the man they were looking for was not at the house.
Another man, Vietnamese nation Hung Cao, was arrested at the property as he tried to leave at 2.25am on February 24 this year.
Mark Brooks, prosecuting, said: “The property was searched and the house, with the exception of living accommodation on the ground floor, was being used exclusively for the production of cannabis.”
Mr Brooks described how 166 small plants were growing in a “nursery” in the cellar.
A total of 105 plants were contained in a first floor bedroom used for drying the plants.
More than 100 plants were found growing in bedrooms on the first and second floors.
Those rooms had been lined with plastic sheeting and contained heating and lighting equipment.
The prosecutor said the plants in the property were capable of producing an annual yield of 53 kilograms, with a street value of £457,000.
Cao, 38, was arrested and told officers he had been at the property for a day after being driven by another man from Birmingham to West Yorkshire and told to look after the plants. He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.
Richard Reed, mitigating, said Cao had come to the UK from his home country to flee religious persecution.
Mr Reed said Cao had been forced to work to pay the people who arranged his transportation to this country.
Mr Reed said: “He accepts that it will be a custodial sentence then the likelihood is that he will be deported. He finds custody difficult because nobody speaks Vietnamese.”
Cao was jailed for 16 months.
Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “What you did was very serious.”
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