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Smell of cannabis 'gave away drug factory'
4:00am Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
A CANNABIS factory worth tens of thousands of pounds was discovered after a neighbour smelt the drug coming from the property.
The woman alerted a passing Police Community Support Officer who reported the information to colleagues, prompting a raid at the semi detached house in Burgess Road.
Inside, officers found rooms filled with a total off 333 cannabis plants at different stages of growth, Southampton Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Gary Venturi explained that when fully matured and cultivated the yield would be worth a street value of over £70,000.
He said that when police entered the house they found two men, one of whom was Quyen Van Pham.
In court the 26-year-old pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of the class B drug and also asked for the same charge relating to an offence in Kent that happened four months before his arrest in Southampton in October, to be taken into account.
Mr Venturi said Pham was linked after DNA taken from a toothbrush at the address in Burgess Road proved to be a match to a sample taken from a similar cannabis factory that was discovered at a property in Folkstone, Kent.
Pham, who is from Vietnam, claimed he had come into the country illegally and was pressurised into working for those who were in charge of the operation.
He said his role was that of a ‘gardener’ and was only responsible for watering and maintaining the plants.
The court heard how electricity at the property which was being rented from a private landlord and had since been sold, was being obtained illegally with a number of heaters, ventilation units and lamps set up to aid the cultivation.
Pham, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to two years in prison by Judge Peter Ralls QC.