Police Find Thousands Of Cannabis Plants Inside Abandoned Woolworths Store
Police in the Midlands were shocked to discover thousands of cannabis plants when they raided an abandoned Woolworths store.
Well, they certainly weren't wrong. Once the police got inside they discovered that there was 2,647 plants inside.
Yep, that'd certainly account for the whiff, no trouble.
The shop had been divided into 14 separate rooms and had bright lamps installed to aid the growth of their illegal crop.
Gardener Thoan Hoang was busted red-handed within the building on 10 July - and has now been jailed for 16 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Hoang, who has no fixed address, admitted producing cannabis between 4 July and 11 July.
Prosecutor Neil Ahuja said: "Entry was forced. Police discovered bright lights and a significant number of cannabis plants. The defendant walked into their view and was detained.
"Plasterboard had been used to create 14 rooms with a significant number of plants growing in 13 of them. In total there were 2,647 cannabis plants."
37-year-old Hoang's defence lawyers said he'd entered the country illegally and was forced to spend a long time paying off the traffickers that had brought him into the UK.
The hapless gardener told police that he was driven to the premises on Transport Lane in Longton, locked inside, and told to turn the electricity on and off.
He also claimed he didn't know what the plants were, hated the stench coming from them, and was so badly bitten by insects that he wanted to leave.
Mitigating, Darron Whitehead said: "He was brought to Stoke-on-Trent and effectively locked in this industrial unit.
"It plainly was not his operation. He was a gardener and did not enjoy it. He did not really understand that they were cannabis plants. It is another example of a young man trying to make a better life for himself and his family.
"His desire is to return home. He knows he is to be deported."
Judge Paul Glenn, sentencing, said: "This was a professional operation with specialist lighting and ventilation."
He also told the defendant: "When you enter the country illegally with no right to remain you make yourself vulnerable to exploitation."
The Longton branch of Woolworths closed it's doors for good on 30 December 2008, along with more than 800 branches around the country. It has never re-opened.
Well, until the police bust down the doors and found a load of pot inside, anyway.
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