Illegal immigrant is jailed after he was caught with £80,000 worth of cannabis plants at a Sheffield house

An illegal immigrant has been jailed after he was caught at a house with 147 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £80,000.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 12:30 pm

Shkumbin Lala, aged 22, was arrested after a police raid at a property on Rock Street, Burngreave, Sheffield, revealed a cannabis growing operation in the property, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

James Gould, prosecuting, told the hearing on February 3: “Despite knocking on the door no one answered so entry was forced. As officers ran up the stairs the defendant was seen to exit an attic window and leave on the roof.”

Lala was directed back to the property and arrested, according to Mr Gould, and the defendant claimed he had been in Sheffield a matter of weeks and the plants were not his but he was responsible for watering them.

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Sheffield Crown Court heard how an illigal immigrant has been jailed after he was caught with 147 cannabis plants with a potential street value of £80,000. Pictured is an example of cannabis plants courtesy of Pixabay.

Mr Gould added the cellar, attic and two bedrooms had been converted to cultivate cannabis and police found 147 plants with an estimated potential street value of £80,000.

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Lala, who had an Albanian interpreter, initially told police he had agreed to pay £17,000 to enter the UK illegally in October 2019, he still owed £15,000 and he had worked in London in the construction industry but that stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, told police he was paid to look after the plants and he had been told he would receive 25 per cent of profits from their sale.

Lala, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to producing the class B controlled drugs after the raid on August 5 last year.

Ayman Khokhar, defending, told the court Lala finally accepted he had willingly entered the county illegally after he made an agreement with people in Belgium despite a Home Office investigation having been launched into whether he had been trafficked or a modern slavery victim.

Mr Khokhar said: “His end of the bargain was to work as a gardener to cannabis plants in residential properties.”

He added Lala will be subject to immigration proceedings and it is unlikely he will remain in the UK after his sentence.

Judge Sarah Wright sentenced Lala to 30 months of custody.

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.