NEIGHBOURS who turned detective helped crack a cannabis factory in Southampton's prestigious Ocean Village.

Residents in Alcantara Crescent noticed unusual activity after a group of east Asian people started renting the three-storey townhouse, Winchester Crown Court was told.

Their public spiritedness has helped put two Vietnamese - Jing Wu and Ba Doan - behind bars.

Louisa Bagley, prosecuting, said police spoke to residents after the raid last October.

She said: "Neighbours had been taking a great interest. Car registration plates, comings and goings became apparent. A silver Ford Focus was traced to Jing Wu. The tenancy was in his name.

"People were seen taking in a fan. Oriental people were seen taking in peat bags. There was banging and crashing and comings and goings. The prosecution say it was a sophisticated cannabis factory."

Miss Bagley said police found 187 cannabis plants in one room but three other rooms were being converted for cultivation.

Judge David Griffiths added: "There was an extensive diversion of electricity. That is one of the things neighbours noticed - the demand for electricity affecting neighbouring properties."

Wu, 23, and 22-year-old Doan, were arrested after police raids on properties in Alcantara Crescent and Mayfield Road in Hampton Park.

Doan was described in Winchester Crown Court as the gardener', paid £50 a week to tend some 400 plants, from seedlings to 5ft plants, in Mayfield Road.

Doan, of Mayfield Road, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and was jailed for 18 months.

Wu, of Earls Road, Bevois Valley, denied any involvement with Alcantara Crescent but after a trial was convicted of production.

In mitigation, David Reid said Wu had tipped off the police about the factories in Mayfield Road and in Woodcote Road, Hampton Park.

But jailing Wu for three years, Judge Griffiths said: "He is very clever and devious and I reject his evidence that he was public spirited. He was trying to prepare his defence, even at that stage.

"He is able and clever and has no business involving himself in activities such as this, when he has plenty of potential for earning an honest living."

The judge confiscated £1,300 found in Doan's possession.

He rejected defence requests over deportation and said both men, Vietnamese nationals, should be deported at the end of their sentences.