Police officers sniff out cannabis farm while on foot patrol

A CANNABIS farm at a house in Keighley was sniffed out by two police officers on foot patrol, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Angjelin Gjoka, an illegal immigrant from Albania, was caught at the address and jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to production of 38 plants of the Class B drug.

The court heard that the police officers smelled cannabis when they were walking past the house in Devonshire Street on July 19.

Intelligence sources backed up their belief that the property had been turned over to the growth of the drug.

When they knocked on the door they were let in by Gjoka, 25, who had come to the UK hidden in the back of a lorry.

The police heard the sound of large electric fans whirring and discovered14 cannabis plants in the basement kitchen and a further 24 in the front bedroom.

The attic contained soil, growing equipment and piles and bags of plant trimmings.

There was food in the fridge and the key was in the back door meaning that Gjoka could come and go as he pleased.

His wallet containing £430 in cash was seized along with false identity documents with his photograph on them.

He told the police he had arrived illegally in the country and had no passport.

His barrister, Ben Thomas, said Gjoka, who had no fixed address in Britain, had co-operated with the police at the house and made admissions in interview.

He was of previous good character and his was a familiar tale in that he had been smuggled into the country hoping to escape poverty in Albania.

“He was ripe for exploitation because he was here illegally and in debt,” Mr Thomas said.

Compared with other cannabis grows busted by the police in the Bradford area, this was not a farm on a large commercial scale.

Gjoka had been in custody for three months in a foreign jurisdiction, with language diffi-culties and under the Covid restrictions.

Recorder Thomas Moran accepted that he was a gardener at the cannabis farm. He was living at the address and he told the police he was “just a worker” when he was arrested.

Recorder Moran said Gjoka’s position at the house was closer to a lesser role than a significant one. He was performing a limited function under direction with no control over those above him in the drugs supply chain.

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