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Two years for ‘gardener’ in cannabis raid
A CANNABIS “gardener” has been jailed after being caught red-handed during a police drugs bust at a house that was packed with £64,000 worth of the drug.
Toan Phung was found hiding in the loft of the house in Whyteways, Boyatt Wood, which had been transformed into a “sophisticated” cannabis factory containing more than 300 mature plants.
In total 307 plants were found in the three-bedroom semi-detached home. If sold on the street, the drugs would have a value of around £64,000. Police described there being an “overwhelming” smell of cannabis in the house and that only the kitchen, where Phung slept on a mattress on the floor, and the toilet didn’t contain any plants.
Prosecutor Rachael Robertson told the court that the 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Vietnam was deemed to be the gardener of the plants and that lighting equipment was found hanging low across each room.
In mitigation Keely Harvey told the court that Phung, who had been living at the address for six months, had been exploited and had travelled to England three years ago to earn money for his family, who were struggling to make ends meet in Vietnam.
She added: “His involvement is through exploitation and there is an element of naivete in that as well.
“He has no influence on those above him in the chain and he certainly doesn’t know if they own other properties.
“His life was essentially living on a mattress on a floor. It was no life at all.”
Phung pleaded guilty to the charge of producing a quantity of cannabis and Judge Derwin Hope sentenced him to two years in prison for his part in the “sophisticated cannabis operation”.