Cannabis gardener jailed after police raid uncovers "£200,000" drug harvest at two South Yorkshire properties

A drug offender has been given a custodial sentence after a police raid in Rotherham discovered a cannabis harvest with an estimated commercial yield of between £127,000 and £200,000 at two properties.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 3:00 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard on September 15 how Denald Sharku, aged 23, was found by police asleep upstairs at a property on Selbourne Street, in Eastwood, Rotherham, which was joined to a neighbouring property and both contained cannabis plants.

Victoria Rose, prosecuting, said: “Police officers discovered that the loft had been knocked through.

“There were rooms throughout both properties converted for the production of cannabis with lighting and ducting installed.”

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A man has been jailed after a police raid uncovered a "200,000" cannabis harvest at two South Yorkshire properties with cannabis plants similar to those pictured.

Ms Rose added that police found 127 plants in one of the properties, and 666 plants in the other but 560 of these were seedlings.

The court heard that the estimated yield was 20 kilograms with an estimated value of between £127,000 and £200,000.

Sharku claimed he had been forced to grow the cannabis by three Albanians after he had been living in London and claimed he had come to the UK and initially worked as a painter to support his family with money and food.

Ms Rose added: “This appears to be an operation capable of producing an industrial quantity for commercial use.”

Sharku, of Selbourne Street, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to producing the class B drug cannabis after the raid on December 3, 2019.

James Beck, defending, said: “In my submission, he’s a classic gardener for an Albanian organised crime gang.”

He added this was an on-going crop rotating enterprise at around the 20 kilogram mark.

Mr Beck said: “This is a young man no doubt coming to this country to make money because it is not available to him in his home country. Sadly, he’s got involved in this illegal enterprise.”

Recorder Keir Monteith QC confirmed all parties were agreed that the yield of cannabis from the properties was estimated to be at least 20 kilograms with an estimated value of £127,000 and £200,000 to the overall seller.

Recorder Monteith accepted Sharku’s role was as a gardener and he sentenced him to 18 months of custody.

The court also heard that because Sharku has already been remanded in custody for nine-and-a-half months he can now expect to be released.