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Albanian immigrants jailed for growing cannabis plants in Wickford | Echo

Albanian immigrants jailed for growing cannabis plants in Wickford | Echo

Police raided the unit, in Swan Lane, Wickford, in June, where they found Antonis Janca, 29, and Taulant Tahiri, 42, inside.

The men – both Albanian nationals – were found alongside a large quantity of cannabis and 548 cannabis plants.

The industrial unit had been divided into five separate rooms – four filled with cannabis plants and one being used as a bedroom.

Janca and Tahiri appeared in Basildon Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced by Recorder Oliver Campbell.

Rachel Law, prosecuting, said: “There were many plant parts and stripped stems found which indicated a previous harvest.

“Vacuum seal bags and drying racks were also found, all of which indicate the cannabis was grown, dried and packaged on-site.

“A drugs analysis expert said the plants would have a yield of between 15 to 45kg with a street value of between £63,000 to £193,000.”

The cannabis factory was sharing a site and also linked to a second hand car dealership which had a number of stolen vehicles and was a suspected chop shop.

A quantity of cocaine and a knuckle duster was also found at the premises.

In police interviews, Janca said he had worked there for two or three months.

He added he was too frightened to leave. However, keys were found at the property, suggesting he was free to leave at any time.

Tahiri had worked at the premises for a month, was not forced to work, and was sending money back to his family in Albania.

Kevin Toomey, mitigating for Janca, said: “I ask for Mr Janca to receive full credit for his guilty plea, he came here illegally in November 2021 and wanted to send money back to his retired parents in Albania.”

Oliver Kirk, mitigating for Tahiri, added: “My client arrived in October last year and got into this role to send money home to his wife and two children.

“He’s going to be deported and wishes to return to Albania as soon as possible.”

Recorder Oliver Campbell jailed the pair for 16 months each for producing a controlled Class B drug.

This content was originally published here.