Cannabis farmer grew 250+ plants to pay off debts to drugs bosses in Sheffield

A man who grew cannabis in a Sheffield house to pay off his debt to the people that smuggled him into the UK has been jailed.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 11:57 am

Police officers found 276 plants were being hand-fed and watered in a two-bedroom house on Popple Street, Page Hall, on December 1, last year, said prosecutor Laura Marshall.

Fatjon Dulla was living downstairs and growing 20 semi-mature plants in the main bedroom, 226 in a nursery in the second bedroom, and 30 semi-mature plants in the attic, which was accessed by ladders.

He came to the country illegally in the back of a lorry, working in London to pay off his debts for his travel and an operation, Ms Marshall told the court.

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Police targeted three homes on Popple Street, Page Hall, on the same day and found cannabis factories in two and equipment for cultivating plants in another.

"When he struggled to repay the debt he was told to water the plants and turn the lights off and on.

"He knew that what he was doing was illegal. He accepted he had keys to the door and the freedom to leave the property when he wanted."

James Baird, mitigating, said: "He had no idea of the scale of the operation when he was taken there initially. His role was simply that of a gardener.

"It was not a particularly sophisticated set-up. He has no previous convictions."

He said prisoners like Mr Dulla were locked up for 23 hours a day.

Dulla, 27, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty on a basis to cannabis production.

Recorder David Gordon told him he was “engaged under pressure” and “had no influence on others in the chain above you.” He jailed Dulla for nine months.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.