Two cannabis growers have been jailed for a total of five-and-a-half years after nearly 400 plants were found in a terraced house in Leeds.
Officers were called to the property at the junction of Roundhay Road and Gathorne Street in the early hours of Boxing Day last year after a member of the public reported smelling cannabis while seeing a group of men loading large bags into a car.
Chi Binh Houng, aged 48, was found sitting in a car outside the address and was arrested.
The door to the property was ajar and when officers entered to check for others, a woman, Nsung Pham, aged 32, and a man pushed past them and ran off. Pham was detained but the man managed to escape.
A search of the premises uncovered hydroponic growing equipment and cannabis plants throughout the property and a bathroom containing fertilisers and other chemicals.
Rooms had been modified to exclude all natural light using white reflective sheeting. All the windows had been boarded and covered in white plastic. There were a number of electric fans and a large air extraction system running throughout, extracting the air into the chimney and out of the premises.
A total of 393 cannabis plants were found, with a total street value of nearly £54,000.
During a search of Houng’s vehicle, a knuckleduster with a built-in stun gun function was found in the driver’s door pocket and cannabis growing equipment in the boot.
Both denied any involvement throughout the investigation but were convicted of production of cannabis.
Houng, of Stockwell, London, was jailed for four years. Pham, of no fixed address was given an 18-month prison sentence.
Detective Inspector Anthony Scopelliti, of Leeds District Neighbourhood Crime Team, said: “This is another really good example of a public-spirited individual helping us to tackle organised criminals who are growing cannabis on an industrial scale in our communities. It is an excellent result that this set-up was discovered before the drug could end up on the street.
“We continue to have a lot of success in finding these cannabis growing operations and arresting the people behind them, and much of that is down to information from the public.
“We encourage residents to look out for suspicious activity in their streets that could indicate a property is being used to grow cannabis. If people notice an unusual smell, see equipment such as lights being delivered, or people coming and going at all hours, I would urge them to pass their suspicions on to us.”
Anyone with suspicions about a property on their street should contact officers via 101 or call the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.