UK: Dungannon: Cannabis accused claims he was victim of human trafficking

The BBC reports

A man accused in connection with an alleged cannabis farm has claimed he was the victim of human trafficking.

Simas Skulmis of Tullnacross Road, Cookstown, was one of five men who appeared at a special sitting of Dungannon Magistrates’ Court.

He faces charges of cultivating cannabis, dishonest use of electricity, having a firearm and breaking a deportation order.

He said he had been transported from Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland.

He added that he had been held against his will.

Also appearing in court on Saturday were Robertas Sciolokovas from Knockamell Park, Armagh; Tautvydis Skinderis from Festival Road, Portadown; and Zidrunas Sauklys and Renaldas Talocka, both of no fixed abode.

They are charged with cultivating cannabis, false imprisonment, assault causing actual bodily harm, possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances and dishonestly using electricity.

Mr Sauklys is further accused of illegally entering the UK in breach of a deportation order.

‘Handgun and ammunition’

A detective told the court that police responded to a call for help from Mr Skulmis on 2 March.

They went to a property in the Tullnacross area of Cookstown where he was found with facial injuries.

Four men were seen running from the house and were all stopped by police.

Mr Skulmis was taken to hospital and when interviewed, the detective said that he claimed he had been trafficked and held against his will.

The detective said he told police that cannabis may have been grown at the property.

He claimed there was a firearm at the house which, he said, was pointed at him. However he would not identify who had done so.

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