Leeds cannabis farmers ‘thought they were growing vegetables’

Chien and Hieu Nguyen.
Chien and Hieu Nguyen.
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TWO men who were caught growing cannabis worth over £100,000 at a house in Leeds have been given prison sentences totaling more than six years.

Police discovered more than 500 illegal plants growing in 11 different rooms of a four-storey house on Delph Lane, Woodhouse, Leeds.

Chien Nguyen was jailed for three years and Hieu Nguyen, 35, for three years, fours months after they pleaded guilty to growing cannabis.

The Vietnamese nationals tried to deny responsibility for the offence after being arrested.

They claimed they believed the plants were “Western vegetables” and did not know they were breaking the law.

Police forced entry to the property on October 19 last year after being alerted by a strong smell of the class B drug coming from the property.

The two men were seen at the kitchen window but refused to answer the door.

Once inside, officers found Hieu hiding in the framework of a sofa and Chien was in the void above a fake ceiling.

Louise Pryke, prosecuting, said over 100 high-powered lights had been fitted at the property to help the plants grow.

Analysis later revealed that the plants were capable of producing more than 16kgs of cannabis.

The two men were in the UK illegally and entered the country via the Czech Republic.

Timothy Jacobs, mitigating, said the two men had been paid by others to look after the plants and were unaware of the scale of the operation.

Mr Jacobs said it was accepted that both men would be facing lengthy prison sentences and would be deported upon release from custody.

Hieu was jailed for three years, four months, and Chien was jailed for three years.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, described the cannabis discovery as a “thoroughly professional enterprise.”

He said: “It was designed to produce significant quantities of cannabis for commercial use to be put on the streets of this and other cities to enrich the lives of those involved at the expense of the misery of those who are addicted.

“I am entirely satisfied that this was a commercial enterprise motivated in each of your cases by financial advantage. You were clearly entrusted by others playing leading roles with these plants.”