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Jailed: Illegal immigrant ran 'commercial-scale' cannabis farm in Shropshire

By Rob Smith | Ludlow | Crime | Published:

An illegal immigrant who oversaw a cannabis operation at a farmhouse near Ludlow has been jailed for three years.

Hanh Nguyen

Hanh Nguyen, 37, originally from Vietnam, was caught trying to run from the building near Downton-on-the-Rock when police raided it on May 15.

Inside they found 531 cannabis plants, spread throughout five of the house’s six bedrooms, and cut plants being dried in the sixth.

Nguyen claimed in a police interview that he had only been there for a day and otherwise gave no comment, but on May 17 he pleaded guilty to production of cannabis.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard he had entered the UK illegally, having first arrived in 2004 and being deported in 2012 for previous cannabis offences.

Prosecuting barrister Fiona Cortese said that the farmhouse was rented to three individuals other than Nguyen from June 2018.

Police visited in May this year to investigate the drugs operation, and surrounded the building.

Tripped

Miss Cortese said: “This defendant was seen running from the rear door towards open fields. He tripped over and was arrested by police.

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“There was nobody else present at the address.

“Inside the property was a commercial-scale cannabis operation. In total there were 531 cannabis plants.”

On searching the farmhouse police also found four vacuum-packed bags of cannabis and £350 in cash behind a sofa.

Representing Nguyen, Jamie Scott said that he had been trafficked to the UK via China, and once he arrived in London tasked with running the cannabis operation.

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Judge Jonathan Gosling said: “This is now the second time you have come illegally to this country and the third time you have been caught cultivating cannabis.

“I accept that this was not your operation.

“You didn’t set it up but you were a very valuable helper and you were doing it for money.”

He sentenced Nguyen to three years in jail but said that he can expect to be deported back to Vietnam in the near future.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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