15:12 PM, 20th April 2011, About 11 years ago
The risk of drugs gangs preying on unsuspecting buy to let landlords to set up cannabis farms was highlighted in two separate court cases this week.
Insurer Aviva warned property owners that claims for damage to property had soared by almost a third last year as police seized more than 750,000 plants – mostly in lots of less than 50 plants.
The court cases drive home the point for landlords that South East Asian crime gangs focus on buy to let homes to set up their farms because spreading the risk of seizure across numerous properties does not disrupt business as much as police grabbing thousands of plants from one place.
Illegal Vietnamese immigrant Tuan Nguyen, 33, was jailed for 20 months after admitting farming the cannabis to Swindon Crown Court.
Police found 191 plants growing and another 100 that had been harvested in a buy to let house. The street-value of the drugs was around £90,000.
Tuan admitted looking after the plants to pay off £16,000 of debts at home.
The judge ordered his deportation on release from jail.
A jury at Northampton Crown Court found Truong Luu, 30, guilty of growing cannabis.
He also admitted two charges of possessing a false driving licence and another of fraud.
Police found 135 cannabis plants growing at a house he had rented in Kettering. Some harvested plants were also in the property. Police reckon the value at around £50,000.
Luu was arrested at a flat in London where he had £1,400 cash.
He was jailed for four years for farming cannabis and nine months, to run concurrently, for the other offences. The judge also ordered his deportation on release from custody.
Sentencing, Recorder Mark Rhind told him: “These types of cannabis factories are a menace to society and those who set them up and run them are treated accordingly by the courts.”