TWO cannabis ‘farmers” who were operating from a secret location in Whitehaven have been jailed.
When police raided the officially disused premises that were being used by the men – Gjergji Braculla, 40, and Xhoni Leka, 28 – they found it crammed illegal plants.
In total, officers 1,300 cannabis plants at various stages of production.
Braculla, of Kingston Upon Thames and Leka, of Wembley, Brent, were caught on May 24 after a police officer became suspicious because he had seen a van parked up against the back door of a disused building in School House Lane.
When the officer spoke to the driver, the man ran off .
Inside the van the officer found a haul of freshly-cut cannabis plants.
Officers then searched the building – and uncovered a sizeable cannabis factory, spread over three floors.
At Carlisle Crown Court, both Braculla and Leka admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis.
They were each jailed for 40 months.
Commenting, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Scott said: “This was a very professional set-up, with no outward signs that anything untoward was going on.
“The location in the town itself meant they were almost hiding in plain sight.
“But good proactive policing led to this discovery, in that a single officer saw something suspicious and acted on it immediately.
“We welcome the sentences handed out today and hope anyone tempted to become involved in such a criminal enterprise takes note.”
The officer said police often rely on information from the public to catch such criminals.
The signs to look out for include:
• Strong, sickly smells coming from properties
• Properties where the windows are constantly covered
• Excessive security around properties, such as CCTV
• High levels of unusual condensation on windows
• Lots of visitors – and at unsociable hours
• Bright lights day and night
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 – or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.