A HOUSE in Doncaster was secretly taken over by a gang of Vietnamese to be converted into a cannabis factory which operated for months before police raided it.
They found almost 280 cannabis plants in the property and the electricity meter had been by-passed.
The investigation led to jail terms totalling eight-and-a-half years being imposed by a judge at Doncaster Crown Court.
Prosecutor Brian Outhwaite said the man and two women had tried to pretend they were English to provide a cover for the operation, even though they needed an interpreter sitting with them in the dock during the case to translate the proceedings into Vietnamese.
Hung Hoang, the 37-year-old man, and Hoa Lam, aged 41, received four years and two-and-a-half years respectively for producing cannabis and abstracting electricity. Viet Lo, aged 23, was jailed for two years for cannabis production.
Mr Outhwaite said the house in Blake Avenue, Wheatley, was rented in January last year by two females, one calling herself Yvonne, who were very keen to move in as soon as possible.
The owner, who attended each month to receive the rent paid by a male, saw nothing untoward.
But when police executed a search warrant last September they found all three bedrooms and the attic were turned over to growing cannabis, with a total of 279 plants and a large scale hydroponics set-up.
Police found documents which showed the defendants “had tried to give an air of Englishness in order not to attract attention”, said Mr Outhwaite.
The landlady picked out all three in identification parades and their fingerprints were found on electrical sockets in the house.
Michael Cane-Soothill, defending Lam, said she was in debt in Vietnam and thought she could make money in England but when she arrived was put in a house and asked to look after the plants. She wants to be repatriated as soon as possible.
Cheryl Dudley, for Lo, said her parents sold her to come to this country and she had no means of survival when she arrived.