Newton Abbot cannabis factory pictures released by police

Friday 5th August 2022 12:30 pm
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POLICE have released photographs which show the scale of a £165,000 cannabis factory in Newton Abbot which was being run by a Vietnamese gang. Police found illegal immigrant Chinh Nguyen tending 200 health mature plants when they raided the property last month. Picture: Police

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POLICE have released these photographs which show the scale of a £165,000 cannabis factory in Newton Abbot which was being run by a Vietnamese gang.

Police found illegal immigrant Chinh Nguyen tending 200 health mature plants when they raided the property last month.

The images show that there were sophisticated lighting and ventilation systems at the building in Abbotsbury Road, which had the capacity to produce up to 21.4 kilograms of skunk cannabis.

Nguyen is an illegal immigrant who has already been thrown out of Britain once after being found running another massive cannabis grow in Wales in 2010.

He was smuggled back into the country across the English Channel in July last year and held in a Home Office detention centre before being released and given temporary permission to remain.

He ended up homeless, penniless and living on the street of Birmingham before being recruited by a cannabis gang and brought to Devon.

Police found a sophisticated high-tech hydroponic operation with healthy plants which were just days away from being harvested.

There were 100 plants in two growing areas which had round the clock lighting which was costing nothing to run because the meter had been by-passed.

Nguyen told police he had been offered food and a roof over his head and claimed he watered the plants once or twice a week and was followed orders from the main organiser.

He is expected to be deported to Vietnam for the second time when he completes the one year jail sentence which he received at Exeter Crown Court.

He previously served two years 8 months after being jailed at Swansea Crown Court in 2010 and was deported in 2012 on his release. He returned to Britain illegally on July 12, 2021.

Nguyen, aged 40, of Abbotsbury Road, Newton Abbot, admitted the cultivation of cannabis and was jailed for 12 months by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: ‘You came down here to act as a gardener for a professional enterprise which was producing cannabis on a commercial scale. The sale of the plants would have realised substantial sums of money.

‘This was a relatively sophisticated operation with specialist equipment and which involved the by-passing of the electricity supply. I suspect your experience from Wales all those years ago made you a good gardener.’

Miss Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said the property was raided in early July and 200 plants seized which would have produced between 5.9 and 21.4 kilos worth up to £165,000 if sold in street deals.

Nguyen told police he had been brought to Devon by the offer of free food and accommodation and had watered the plants once or twice a week and never left the house.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Nguyen had been released by the Home Office with nowhere to live and was unable to work or claim benefits because of his immigration status.

He had been exploited because he was desperate to get off the streets and needed a roof over his head. He now plans to return to his family in Vietnam when he is released.

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