Home Politics Cannabis plantation “epidemic” sees Albanians sentenced quadruple

Cannabis plantation “epidemic” sees Albanians sentenced quadruple

by admin
0 comment

Over the past five years, Albanian gangs have cornered the cannabis cultivation marketusurping the Vietnamese by importing their hydroponic expertise in growing Albanian plants to the UK and using illegal migrants as ‘gardeners’.

Number of Albanians crossing the Channel in 2022 on small boats rose to 12,301 from 800 in 2021, more than a quarter of the total of 45,755 arrivals.

Among those jailed this summer was Nard Nidri, 34, who entered the UK illegally last summer and lived in Birmingham then moved to Swansea where he worked in a car wash before being recruited for a cannabis farm.

He was one of four “gardeners” jailed for a total of six years in August after police arrested them at a property in Neath, south Wales, where two rooms and the attic had been adapted and isolated to grow plants with a market value of £85,000.

“A kind of industry”

Sentencing them, Judge Geraint Walters said cannabis farms run by Albanian criminal gangs had reached “epidemic levels” and had, he said, “become something of an industry”.

He suggested that authorities should look into the rental housing sector, pointing out that although so-called cannabis “cultivators” often appear in court, landlords and others receiving money from rent from properties used for cultivation operations rarely did so.

Other Albanians worked for the gangs to pay off debts. Artenis Shehu, 20, was jailed for a year after working on a cannabis farm on the Norfolk Broads to settle what he claimed was a £2,500 debt he owed to a crime gang organized to pay for a medical operation for his father.

Judge Andrew Shaw told Shehu the £225,000 cannabis operation was a “sophisticated setup” which had “all the hallmarks” of “serious organized crime”. “The message needs to get out: being exploited by serious, organized criminals is not a get-out-of-jail-free card,” he said.

Albanian gangs got into cannabis because it was “very, very low risk”, generated good profits due to high demand – the British consumed 240 tonnes of the drug worth of £2.4 billion in 2021 – and that it does not require risky cross-border transport because it is grown locally, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

This week, James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, signed a new deal with Albania to build on the fast-track deportation and anti-immigration deal which saw a 90% reduction in number of crossings by Albanians this year.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2030 All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by zebalkans