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9th Dec, 2021

Albanian man jailed after discovery of cannabis factory in Leamington

AN ALBANIAN man looked after a cannabis factory that had been set up in a Leamington house to pay back the £17,000 cost of being smuggled into the country.

But now Jetmir Zika will be sent back to his home country – once he has served a 12-month prison sentence imposed by a judge at Warwick Crown Court.

The 29-year-old, who was living at the house in Plymouth Place, at the time, had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis and illegally abstracting electricity.

Prosecutor Oliver Weetch said on October 5 the police went to the house with a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act and found Zika inside.

Mr Weetch said: “When the address was searched, 152 cannabis plants were found growing in five different rooms.

“There was a sophisticated set-up including lighting, watering and fertiliser, and the electricity meter had been by-passed to provide power for it.

“There was a key in the front door, which suggested the defendant could come and go as he wished,”

When Zika was interviewed he said he was Albanian, and had tried to enter the UK some time ago but failed and was sent back to France before successfully entering in the back of a lorry nine months earlier.

He said he had been living in London and working in construction before he was brought to Leamington by friends and taken to the house to tend the plants.

Mr Weetch added the plants were in different stages of maturity, but once harvested the crop would have had an estimated street value of around £86,000.

Nick Devine, defending, said Zika was under pressure to do what he was told to do.

Jailing Zika, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You came here illegally from Albania, and I accept entirely that you played no leading role in this operation. It is in the nature of your position that you had very little agency in what was happening.”

Observing that Zika has said he now wants to go back to Albania, she said he would be deported after serving his sentence, adding: “I wish you better luck in Albania than you’ve had here.”

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