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11 November 2010, 12:22 | Updated: 11 November 2010, 12:26
A man’s been jailed for two years after hundreds of cannabis plants were found at a house in Watford.
St Albans Crown Court heard how 24-year old So Vo, from Vietname, had been living and working as a “gardener” at the four bedroom house in Muirfield Road.
In court Vo, an illegal immigrant to this country, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis.
Recorder Peter Crabtree hearing the case was told that the electricity illegally extracted for the production of the drug amounts to 21,000 pounds
Charlotte Eadie prosecuting said it was on October 6 this year that a police officer on foot patrol in Muirfield Road noticed the smell of cannabis in the air.
It appeared to be coming from a house and when the officer made enquiries with neighbours he discovered there was a problem with unpaid electricity bills.
As a result police went to the property and upon entry discovered a sophisticated cannabis production "factory" was in operation.
Special lighting, heating and an irrigation system had been set up. Plant food and fertiliser was present and upstairs all four bedrooms were being used to grow cannabis plants.
The downstairs living room had been converted for drying the plants.
Miss Eadie said that in total more than 400 plants were being grown upstairs
In addition 150 plants were being dried out.
Vo was present at the house and arrested.
Interviewed with the aid of an interpreter he said he was an illegal immigrant to the UK having arrived in the back of a lorry a year earlier.
He said he had been a gardener at the house for around four to five months and was doing it so that he could get the air fair to return home to Vietnam.
Because of his illegal status in the UK he told police it was the only work he could get.
Silas Reid defending said Vo had found himself exploited by others and received just £300 a crop.
Some of the money he had been paid had been sent to his sick father back in Vietnam to buy the medication he needed.
Mr Reid said it was now Vo's wish to return home to Vietnam and that would take place at the end of any prison sentence he received when he would be deported.