A Vietnamese man who acted as the ‘farmer’ at a Shropshire cannabis factory has been jailed for 12 months.
Minh Khanh Ho was told at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday he would be deported back to Vietnam once he has completed his prison sentence.
Ho, 48, of Kings Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham, denied being concerned in the production of the class B drug. But a jury took less than an hour yesterday to convict him.
The trial was told he had been discovered by police at High Barns Bungalow in Six Ashes near Bridgnorth in June. A total of 638 cannabis plants with a street value of £200,000 were also discovered at the secluded cottage.
Ho had claimed he was working as a cleaner and builder at the property and was not involved in the production of the drugs.
During the trial it was revealed Ho had previously fled after being linked to a drugs factory in Yorkshire.
Police took no action on that occasion because it was believed he had left the UK.
Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Peter Barrie said it was clear Ho had been looking after the plants at High Barns Bungalow.
The judge said: “I have no doubt you were the gardener at this large scale production of drugs at these premises.
“And I have no doubt you were doing the same thing in 2009 when you were arrested in Harrogate and absconded.
“This was production for commercial use. I accept your role was a lesser one in that you were tending the plants.”
The judge said as soon as Ho had completed his prison sentence he would be deported to Vietnam by the UK Borders Agency, following Government guidelines.
Mr Mike Sherwood-Smith, for Ho, said his client wished to return home.
He said: “He wants to return to his homeland as soon as possible.”