Sheffield restaurant worker jailed after cannabis farm raid

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A CHINESE restaurant worker is spending Christmas behind bars after he was caught running a massive cannabis farm in Sheffield.

When police raided the property on Downland Avenue, High Green, they discovered a sophisticated growing set-up and cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £266,000.

The electricity supply had been bypassed and four bedrooms were being used as hydroponic growing rooms, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

“The walls were covered in reflective material, the windows were blacked out, and high intensity lighting units were installed - it was a very professional set-up,” said prosecutor Stephanie Hollis.

Police raided the property on October 31 and arrested 24-year-old Chen-Chen Yu.

Miss Hollis said: “Despite repeated knocking, there was no answer and entry was forced. The defendant was arrested as he tried to leave by a side door.”

Miss Hollis said 200 cannabis plants were recovered from the dining room, 65 from the first bedroom, 100 from the second, 78 from the third and 64 in the fourth four.

Watering equipment was found in the bathroom.

Miss Hollis said in total there were 9.5 kilogrammes of growing plants and 8.19 kilogrammes of harvested plants.

A previous crop had yielded 9kg and experts said the farm would have produced four crops a year.

The court heard Yu had come to the UK from China on a tourist visa and had stayed in the UK after his visa expired in 2010.

He was working in London in a restaurant when he answered an advert online and took the job ‘not knowing what he was getting himself into’, the court was told.

Yu was promised £200 a week and free accommodation in return for working as a ‘gardener’ at the drugs farm.

But he never received the money he had been promised.

He admitted producing the Class B drug and bypassing the electricity supply but was sentenced on the basis he had not set up the farm, rented the property or bought the equipment.

Jailing him for two years, Judge Robert Moore said: “You worked as a live-in gardener, working for profit at a very large cannabis house farm in High Green, Sheffield.

“The matter is so serious only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified. You will be deported back to China on your release.”