The Chronicle reports
Ismet Degjoni and Ronaldo Kurti had paid thousands to enter the UK illegally hoping for a better life and ended up being used by a criminal gang in North Tyneside
Two houses on the same street had been converted into large cannabis farms and were being looked after by illegal immigrants.
Ismet Degjoni and Ronaldo Kurti had paid thousands of pounds to be brought to the UK in the back of a lorry, with false promises of a better life and lawful job opportunities.
But they were soon put to illegal work by a criminal gang behind the drugs factories in Forest Hall, North Tyneside.
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Police turned up at Oswin Road on October 7 last year and while there was no active cannabis farm at the first house they visited, neighbours told them the same landlord owned two other properties on the street.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that at one, there was no reply but a strong smell of skunk cannabis was emanating from it.
Degjoni was then seen to jump out of a back window but he was detained and arrested.
A total of 211 cannabis plants were inside, worth up to £88,000.
Rachel Glover, prosecuting, said: “It was a sophisticated set up, with the electricity meter bypassed and it was capable of producing significant quantities of cannabis and the plants were in excellent condition.”
At the other house, two doors along, there was a similarly pungent aroma and Kurti was detained outside.
Inside, there were 134 plants, worth up to £56,000.
Miss Glover said both men were “illegal entrants”, with Degjoni having arrived from France tens days before his arrest and Kurti from France six months previously.
Both pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and were each jailed for two years.