AN ILLEGAL immigrant who was caught running a cannabis farm in a converted house has been jailed for two years.
Hung Nguyen was operating as the gardener with the responsibility to water and tend the 106 plants, which could have netted £50,000, found in the Gorse Hill semi.
But the 23-year-old, who came to the UK in search of a better life, will be deported after serving his sentence behind bars, Swindon Crown Court was told.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told how officers raided the property on June 5, after receiving information about what was going on there.
He said: “Police executed a search warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act in Malvern Road, Swindon, and found what they expected, a cannabis farm.
“Two upstairs bedrooms had been converted in the manner which one has sadly become familiar with. Lighting, hydroponics, ventilation and the like.
“There were 106 plants in the rooms and the third bedroom was in the process of being converted. It contained a couple of trays of very small seedlings.
“Mr Nguyen was the gardener. His story is a sadly familiar one. He met a man in London who offered him a job, he was placed in Swindon to look after the crop.
“He didn’t go out. Food and cigarettes were delivered to him. He had a small room downstairs to live in.
“He arrived in the country about a year ago. He has no English and no documents.”
Nguyen, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis.
Richard Williams, defending, said: “He came from Vietnam to the UK in search of a better life. He grew up in poverty and hoped to better himself.
“Sadly the only opportunity that came up was this one and he was offered financial reward but sadly didn’t get any. He was fed and watered. He had been in this property approximately 20 days.”
He said his client was suffering from severe abdominal pains but because of the language barrier he was finding it hard to get it treated in prison.
“That may emphasise his time within the prison estate may not be the easiest, he finds it more onerous than someone who speaks English well,” he said.
Jailing him, Recorder Ian Lawrie QC said: “It is clear that you accepted the invitation to become what is known as the gardener of these cannabis plants.
“You allowed yourself to be the gardener. You clearly were responsible for the production of this cannabis.
“Because of the quantity of plants and the arrangement and your involvement in it, it clearly crosses the custody threshold. That means it merits prison as it is so serious.”