Jail for electrician in cannabis factory
DEGRADING TRADE: Judge warns of severe punishment for production of drugs
AN ELECTRICIAN who transformed an Ashford house into a drugs factory has been jailed for five years.
Tian Wang, 35, was told by Judge Martin Joy, sitting at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, that he had played a crucial role in the illegal scam.
The judge said: “It was wired in an extremely sophisticated and elaborate way, quite literally from roof to ground floor and every room.
“There was an enormous investment of electrical equipment; transformers, plugs, heating and lighting devices. This was investment on a large scale. You used your skill as an electrician, which was vital.”
Wang, of Brydale House, New Road, Rotherhithe, denied cultivating cannabis but was convicted by a jury.
He had earlier admitted an offence of abstracting electricity and was committed to the crown court for sentence at the end of his trial by Ashford magistrates.
Police raided the four-bedroom house at 160 Canterbury Road in February after receiving information that cannabis was being grown on the premises.
Prosecutor Trevor Wright said that as the police forced their way in there was a strong smell of the drug.
As well as light and heating systems, plant pots were in the hallway, bathroom and bedrooms.
When the door to another room was opened there was, said Mr Wright: “A great wave of heat.” Cannabis leaves were also scattered on the floor.
“The whole of the four-bedroom house was devoted to the growing and production of skunk cannabis,” added the prosecutor.
Wang, who is a British citizen, was found with another man when police forced open a door leading from the kitchen to a garage.
The court heard that two codefendants, described as playing the role of “gardeners”, admitted their involvement and were each jailed for two years. As Chinese nationals they are expected to be deported after their sentences.
Wang, who was assisted in court by an interpreter, looked visibly shocked at the end of the hearing.
Judge Joy told him he had been convicted on clear, compelling and overwhelming evidence, and that a substantial prison term was inevitable.
He said: “Skunk cannabis is a vicious substance and those who involve themselves in this degrading trade will be severely punished.”
Wang was also sentenced to 18 months concurrent for abstracting electricity. He is expected to return to court in April for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.