A Vietnamese gardener who worked at a commercial scale cannabis farm set up in a city home has been jailed and faces deportation.
Duc Nguyen was caught hiding in a small recess in the brickwork at a property on Chester Road, Sunderland, where 300 cannabis plants were found growing in four separate rooms.
Police raided the property in August and also found a haul of black bin bags containing cannabis leaves in an under-stairs cupboard.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the large-scale operation was capable of producing significant quantities of the drug.
Nguyen, 20, who lived at the property, told police he was just one of the gardeners employed to look after the farm.
Prosecutor Mark Guiliani, said; “He fully accepted what he was doing, growing the plants. He said he was the nightshift and another would take over during the day. He said he had come from Vietnam, via Russia and in the past had been doing the same activity in the south of England, but had been caught and then moved to the north of England.”
Nguyen, of Chester Road, Sunderland, admitted cultivating cannabis.
Mr Recorder John Aitken jailed him for 12 months.
The judge said: “Your principal aim is to improve your situation in life, but I am afraid that cannot be done by growing drugs illegally.”
Katy Rafter, defending, said deportation proceedings have started in Nguyen’s case. She added: “He was performing the function of a gardener, largely under direction of others higher up the chain.”