Homeless Albanian man was offered bed and food to act as cannabis gardener in Northampton house

A court has heard how he was living rough when an opportunity came his way...now he's behind bars

Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:22 pm
Police dsicovered the cannabis farm in Cranstoun Street back in August

An Albanian man who had over-stayed his right to be in the UK ended up sleeping rough - but was then lured into overseeing a cannabis grow house in Northampton.

Loka Islam, of no fixed abode, attempted to escape police after he was caught in the house in Cranstoun Street by jumping through neighbours' gardens. But when officers caught up with him he jumped off a roof and broke his ankle.

Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (Thursday, October 7) that the 36-year-old had left his two children, his disabled brother and his parents in Albania because he was unable to support them. He came to the UK on the promise of work but, with no qualifications and unable to speak English, he ended up on the streets.

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He was approached by a fellow Albanian who offered him an 'opportunity' to look after a grow house. After three weeks in the house, burglars broke in and he was assaulted.

Then in August, police received a tip-off that the three-bed mid-terrace in Northampton being used as a cannabis grow house.

After knocking at the door of the house, they heard from a neighbour that Islam had been seen garden-hopping. They caught up with him, shoe-less, on a flat-roof.

He jumped down but broke his ankle in the fall and was taken to hospital. He was told he would need surgery in the coming fortnight. After being charged, Islam was held on remand in prison but the court was told how he had not received a visit from any doctor during the past six weeks. He appeared in court on crutches.

Two mobile phones were found on Islam, and in the house were 82 cannabis plants, along with a camp bed and thin mattress. The court estimated that, when harvested, the plants would have yielded around 4kg of cannabis.

He pleaded guilty to the cultivation of cannabis at his first court appearance.

Sentencing, His Honour David Herbert QC said: "I accept it was not your enterprise but you were working for others."

He was sentenced to six months in jail.