Farmer jailed after town cannabis raid
AVIETNAMESE farmer has been jailed for his role in a cannabis farm worth up to £820,000 that was found on Chestergate.
Hung Tran, 23, travelled nearly 6,000 miles from Vietnam to try and find work in the UK, Chester Crown Court heard.
He ended up in Macclesfield after being taken to a building on Chester- gate which had previously been used by the Rapture shop to look after a cannabis farm upstairs.
The defendant, of no fixed abode, was in the property when police raided it on Wednesday, May 7 after reports of a strong smell of cannabis coming from the building.
Prosecutor Simon Parry told the hearing that officers found more than 700 plants being grown over two floors.
The crops growing and others which had already been harvested were said to be worth between £677,000 and £823,000, the court heard.
The operation had fans and lamps operating day and night using electricity stolen from neighbouring properties, which had a value of £42,000.
Mr Parry said: “Officers discovered a substantial cannabis factory. Electricity had been bypassed, in sufficient amounts to be potentially lethal.
“All those inside were arrested. Two men fled through the rear and were caught by officers, one was Tran.
“He had been brought to the address by a Western male to look after the property.”
Tran, who pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at an earlier hearing, was sentenced to ten months in prison.
The defendant has been in prison since his arrest in May and could be deported before his sentence is up, the court was told.
Defending Tran, Roger Badman said: “He was only in the premises for two nights, the operation had been set up for some considerable time. It’s a sad case.”
He said that Tran had been held captive at one point since leaving Vietnam but had escaped.
But Mr Badman said there was no suggestion he was unable to leave the drugs farm.
He added: “He’s a young man of previous good character and is very anxious to return to Vietnam.”
Judge Roger Dutton said Tran was a typical example of a far east Asian gardener brought in to keep the plants growing.
He said: “You played an important role in this large commercial operation.
“You have a very sad background.
“You came here from a tortuous route to the UK and have no status in this country. I’m quite certain this has been an awful experience for you.”
●● Police clear cannabis plants from the scene