Sheffield cannabis farmer was paying off drug and gambling debts
Police in Sheffield uncovered 175 cannabis plants and the man who was growing them to pay off drug and gambling debts in a raid, a court has heard.
Officers forced the door of a four-storey terrace on Abbeydale Road, at 8am on July 17, where they found Armand Lita in the living room, prosecutor Neil Coxon said.
The electricity had been bypassed, and 73 mature plants were discovered in four rooms with 102 saplings in the attic.
Lita, an Albanian national, told police he entered the UK illegally in 2013 and had worked in London before losing his job at the start of the pandemic.
He moved to Manchester and then Sheffield, where he took up the gardening job at the end of June.
Mr Coxon said Lita accrued £3,000 of drug and gambling debts and was working until September to pay them off.
He received 26 weeks in prison at Cambridge magistrates’ court, in August 2017 for drug possession, criminal damage and harassment.
Fiona Lamb, mitigating, said she accepted there was financial gain and while Lita's role was significant, “it was at the lower end of the custody.”
"He was told what to do by other people," she said. "He came to the country illegally but did try to find work.
"He has a number of mental and physical health issues. His mental health has deteriorated while he has been in custody.
"He is entitled to full credit for his guilty plea and is lightly convicted."
Lita, 29, of Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, admitted producing cannabis and Judge Sarah Wright sentenced him to 20 months, at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.