£112,000 worth of drugs were discovered by police at a cannabis factory – as well as a “gardener” who was fast asleep.
The cannabis factory, which was situated in the Midlands, was rumbled by a member of the public.
The passerby spotted a hole in the building’s roof and alerted officers.
Police raided the derelict premises in London Road, Stoke, and came across three rooms full of plants.
StokeonTrentLive , our sister title, reports ‘gardener’ Tuan Dao was napping on a ledge that he used as a makeshift bed.
It emerged he had been staying there for up to three months after being hired to water the vegetation.
Now the 20-year-old has appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty to being concerned with the production of a class B drug.
Dao, of no fixed address, faces deportation to his native Vietnam after serving his 12-month sentence in youth detention.
Cathlyn Orchard, prosecuting, said police entered the property on September 3 and were confronted by bright lights and intense heat.
“There were plants in pots on the ground floor,” she told the court. “There were 48 plants in the room that had already been cropped.
“Fifty cropped plants and six plants that were four or five weeks away from being ready were found in the second room. There were 100 plants in the upstairs room.”
The total cannabis yield came to 11 kilos – with an estimated street value of £112,200.
Dao would not tell police who had hired him, although he said they had treated him badly.
“He had taken the employment for money, but the people hadn’t paid him or allowed him to leave,” said Ms Orchard.
“He described the people who employed him as foreigners and said he would not have done the job if he had known what they would be like. He couldn’t give a description of them.”
Dao’s role was ‘limited but important’, the court heard.
He had arrived in the UK two years ago and had been arrested in connection with a similar allegation before taking on the job at London Road.
Saleema Mahmood, mitigating, said: “He now desperately wants to return to Vietnam.”
Sentencing him, Judge Paul Glenn said he would eventually get his wish as the jail term would trigger automatic deportation on his release.
He told the defendant: “The premises you were staying at was being used to grow cannabis on a commercial scale.
“It was a professional set-up, although I accept you had not set it up or organised it and you would not be the one who would reap the profits.”