Man who ran Penrith cannabis farm owed people smugglers £50k – court

A FORMER Indian takeaway outlet in the centre of Penrith was converted into a secret cannabis farm.

olice who raided the premises in Burrowgate on March 23 discovered three rooms crammed with almost 300 cannabis plants while the “gardener” who was given the job of looking after them was found hiding in a cellar.

Klaudion Sollaku, 30, pleaded guilty to producing the class B controlled drug at an earlier court hearing. He was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court after prosecutor Tim Evans outlined the facts of the case.

The barrister described how the illegal drug operation was discovered after a utility company worker – under the terms of a court warrant – went to the property because of unpaid bills for electricity usage.

He went in via the back door because the front entrance had been “barricaded” from the inside. Once inside the property, he saw the cannabis plants and immediately contacted the police.

Officers arrived a short time later and discovered hundreds of cannabis plants in a ground floor room and in the two cellar rooms.

“Mr Sollaku was found curled up and hiding behind the plants in the far corner of one of the rooms,” said Mr Evans. Each room was equipped with growing lights and electricity transformers.

In the cellar front room were 81 plants, with 271 flowering heads; in the second cellar room there were 37 plants of varying sizes; and on the ground floor room there were 105 plants, as well as 19 full 10kg soil bags and a further 17 empty soil bags.

Also found were a mattress, clothing, and food. “There was a total of 223 plants, as well as 65 cannabis plant seedlings,” said Mr Evans.

When he was interviewed, Sollaku confirmed he was not threatened to work at the premises. “It’s plain that this was a commercial production, and the defendant accepts playing a lesser role as the gardener,” added Mr Evans.

Read more at—court/

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