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Illegal immigrants jailed after £250k cannabis factory found in Carlisle

L-R: Rafael Hysaj and Elidon Hajdarmataj

TWO illegal immigrants have been jailed after being caught red-handed at the site of a £250,000 Carlisle cannabis factory they were cultivating.

The city’s crown court heard this afternoon (FRI) how detectives approached an enclosed and windowless industrial unit at Alanbrooke Road, Rosehill, on March 16th amid reports of suspicious activity.

As they examined the exterior, the shutters came up and two men – Albanian nationals Elidon Hajdarmataj, 24, and 26-year-old Rafael Hysaj – emerged. When the officers, who detected the strong smell of cannabis, asked how much of the drug was inside, one of the men replied: “A lot.”

In total, 330 cannabis plants were found in two rooms which had been given over to production. It was estimated the potential yield of the class B drug could have been between £99,000 and £247,000.

In addition, sophisticated equipment estimated to be worth thousands of pounds was also recovered, one detective reporting it to be the most professional growing set-up he’d seen in all his years of policing.

Hajdarmataj and Hysaj – who had been living at the unit – told how they’d been brought there from London and put to work. They admitted cannabis production, and were each jailed for two years.

Judge Andrew Jefferies QC told the pair, both of no fixed address: “I accept you are highly unlikely to have been the organisers of this, but you were actively producing that cannabis, no doubt under direction.”

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