"Naive" Albanian cannabis grower jailed over "large-scale" Laughton set-up

A CANNABIS farmer whose lawyer said he had become involved in producing drugs out of “naivety and immaturity” has been jailed for more than two years.

Albanian migrant Ardjan Allushi (24, pictured) came to the UK illegally with hopes of working for a barber and took jobs as a building labourer but was recruited by drug dealers as he tried to raise money to send home to family in eastern Europe.

Sheffield Crown Court heard on Tuesday that he was one of two men found overseeing a crop of 164 cannabis plants when police raided a house in St John’s Road, Laughton en le Morthen in June.

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Allushi tried to flee by climbing out of a window but was caught in the garden and arrested.

Mr Andrew Picken, prosecuting, said Allushi and his co-defendant, Andi Zogu — who will be sentenced at a later date — had made no comment when interviewed by police.

He described the cannabis growing set-up, which filled six rooms of which two were in the basement, was “sophisticated”, with lights and foil covering the walls.

Mr Picken said there had been food and mobile phones on the premises, as well as passports in the men’s names.

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He said both defendants, of no fixed abode, had played a significant role in the cannabis operation and had an understanding of its scale.

But Ms Bianca Brasoveanu, mitigating, told the court Allushi had effectively been a “gardener” with no influence over other members of the organisation.

“He became involved through naivety and immaturity,” she said.

“He came to this country illegally to seek employment, with the purpose of practising as a barber, prior to the pandemic hitting and preventing him from exercising that profession.

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“He managed to find employment in the construction industry but was living from pay cheque to pay cheque by residing with friends.

“He got himself involved in this offending for the purpose of sending money back to family living in Albania.

“He’s a young man who found himself in a foreign country with economic difficulties and asks to serve his sentence and return to his family where he’s awaited by his mother, father and three sisters.”

Judge Mark Robinson said he accepted the cannabis set-up had been installed by someone else but added “it must have been obvious to you that this was a large-scale operation”.

Taking into account Allushi’s guilty plea, the judge sentenced him to 27 months in prison.


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