Leeds grower is jailed over £100,000 of cannabis

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A judge who jailed a cannabis farmer urged him to warn other Vietnamese nationals of the consequences they could face if they are caught producing the drug in the UK.

Hoa Vo, 41, was asked to deliver the message to his fellow countrymen as he was given a 10-month prison sentence.

He was also told he is likely to face deportation after being caught in a house where £138,000 of the drug was being grown.

Further investigation revealed almost a quarter of a million pounds worth a year of the class B drug was capable of being produced at the house in Regent Terrace, Hyde Park.

Police executed a search warrant at the house on December 5 last year and arrested Hoa Vo.

Officers had been alerted to the property by a letting agent.

Jeremy Lindsay, prosecuting, said the agent had initially been to carry out an inspection on Beckett Park Drive, Headingley, and found evidence of cannabis being grown within the property.

No plants were found at that address but attention was switched to the property on Regents Terrace.

Vo was on his own at the address and was found in possession of £500 in cash.

A total of 360 cannabis plants were in the house in the bathroom, bedrooms and loft.

Many of the plants were ready to be harvested. Mr Lindsay said the plants were capable of producing 16kgs of the drug with an estimated street value of £138,857.

The prosecutor said if three crops a year would have been produced at the property it could have produced £416,000 of the drug.

Vo later admitted his involvement in producing the cannabis but said he had only acted as the gardener and did not have a significant role.

He pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

Kenton Sergeant, mitigating, said Vo had been smuggled into the UK to find work as his family were in poverty and he had incurred huge debts.

He said: “He thought the streets were paved with gold and saw that as an opportunity to improve his life and that of his family.”

Mr Sergeant said his client had done a number of very low paid jobs before getting involved in producing the cannabis.

At the time he was arrested he had saved £500 in cash and was hoping to earn enough money to pay for a flight back home.

Mr Sergeant said Vo was unable to do any jobs in prison as he could not speak English and earned just £1 a week as a result.

Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, told Vo to ‘make it well known’ when he was returned to Vietnam that even gardeners of significant quantities of cannabis “must and always will go to prison”.

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