Police found £80k cannabis ‘farm’ at Forest house

Monday 2nd May 2022 6:00 am
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Arber Pula
(Gloucester Crown Court )

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POLICE called to a house in Newnham after concerns about a woman were reported found cannabis plants potentially worth more than £80,000.

The man who answered the door at the address in Beeches, Arber Pula, has been jailed for six months for cultivating the Class B drung.

Alex Daymond, prosecuting, told Gloucester Crown Court yesterday (April 20) said police were called to the house because of concerns for the welfare of a woman believed to be staying at the address.

“Officers arrived at around 9pm on February 9 this year and Arber Pula, an Albanian national, answered the door,” said the prosecutor. “He was asked a few questioned about the woman and the police asked to look around the property to check she wasn’t in the building.

“Having searched the downstairs, the officers indicated they wanted to go upstairs at which point Pula started to become evasive and told them the woman wasn’t there.

“When the police went upstairs they discovered a number of cannabis plants being grown in the bedrooms and in the attic.

“The plants were surrounded by specialist equipment. The police also noticed that the electrical system had been bypassed.

“Pula denied any knowledge of the drugs operation and stated that it wasn’t his property and that he was only passing through for the night.

“He was arrested and taken into custody.

“The cannabis operation was examined by specialist police officers who found 18 well-established cannabis plants in the bedroom which had the potential of yielding between 504 grams and 1,512 grams of cannabis flowering heads which was valued at between £5,000 and £15,000.”

The court was told that an additional 26 plants were discovered in the attic which could have yielded a street value of between £7,000 and £21,000.

Also found were 56 saplings which, had they grown to maturity, could have produced a quantity of cannabis that could have been worth between £15,000 and £47,000 in street deals.

In his police interview Pula explained that he had been in the UK for six years and had worked in various jobs and found himself in Gloucestershire having been offered a job at a carwash.

He told the police that he was picked up earlier that day from London and taken to the Forest of Dean property at 2pm where he was told that he would be taken to the carwash the next day.

The prosecutor suggested that in reality Pula was probably recruited to become a gardener for the cannabis operation.

Alexandra Monaghan defending, said: “Pula entered the UK legally under a tourist visa, but when this expired he didn’t leave the country and overstayed illegally.

“Pula fell out of work in August 2021 and by the end of January of this year he was struggling financially and as he had no legal status to remain in this country he had no documentation to obtain work and consequently he fell into the criminal world.

“He didn’t realise the work he was being given was as a gardener for the cannabis plants. The operation of the cannabis is commercial but not on an industrial level.

“He has demonstrated significant remorse as he was essentially exploited by others because of his status in the UK and his lack of spoken English.

“There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, having been remanded in prison for the past two months.

“His pre-sentence report suggests that he came to the UK in search of a better life. At the time of his arrest he was living in shared accommodation in London.”

Pula of St Ann’s Hill, Wandsworth, London, pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug of Class B, cannabis February 9, 2022.

Judge Michael Cullum told Pula: “You were looking after 100 cannabis plants that would have produced at least £75,000 worth of cannabis. Somebody was making a lot of money from this operation. I accept that was not you.

“You allowed yourself to be used as a gardener when you could not find other paid employment. That was because you were not authorised to remain in the UK. You should have left after six months having arrived as a visitor.

“You became part of an organised criminal group, although you were at the bottom end of it and were exploited by others.”

The judge sentenced Pula to a prison term of six months and told him that he could not suspend the sentence because he was not entitled to undertake any unpaid work by way of penalty and that drug offences normally attract immediate custodial sentences.

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