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Telford cannabis farmer caught with sword is jailed

By Rob Smith | Telford | Crime | Published:

A man who looked after 160 plants in a cannabis farm in Shropshire has been sent to jail for two-and-a-half years.

Topton Halilaj, 30, was caught red-handed in a Telford house which had been converted into a cannabis farm earlier this year, later pleading guilty to producing a controlled drug.

Police raided the building in Chockleys Meadow, Leegomery, on February 1 and found Halilaj in the loft and plants covering many of the rooms.

When he was taken outside, Halilaj, from Albania and of no fixed address, was found to have a small sword and false Polish identity documents on his person.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard this week that the building had been almost completely filled with 160 cannabis plants, its windows had been covered and the electrical supply to the building had been bypassed to support the plants.

Halilaj appeared at court on Friday to be sentenced for producing a controlled class B drug and possessing improper identification documents.

Prosecutor Miss Katie Fox told the hearing: "He was carrying with him what's been described as a small sword.

"He also had on him a driving licence and ID card, both purporting to be Polish documents and bearing the name of another.

"The premises were found to be a fully functioning cannabis grow."

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Value

Behind the mundane facade of the house were a ventilation system and a mechanism for watering the plants, as well as 600 watt lamps to help them grow.

The plants ranged from young to mature and a drugs expert estimated that the total value of their yield could range anywhere from £29,000 to £87,000.

A bag of skunk was also found and the contents were valued at about £3,450.

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Representing Halilaj, Mr Mohammed Bashir said that he has put his time in custody to productive use learning new things, and that he looks forward to earning money honestly.

Judge Peter Barrie told the defendant: "When this house was searched by the police, you were there living in the house, looking after the cannabis plants that were being cultivated.

"You had the protection of some sort of weapon, and funds to support yourself. This was a professional, established cannabis grow with all of the equipment that is needed.

"There may well have been other people or another person with a more leading role than yourself who made the investments and took most of the profits."

He sentenced Halilaj to two years for producing cannabis, and six months to be served consecutively for possessing the false documents.

Halilaj was assisted in court by an Albanian language interpreter.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

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

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