Asylum seeker sent to jail for cannabis worth £100,000

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A VIETNAMESE asylum seeker helped grow more than £100,000 worth of cannabis while on the run from UK Border Agency officials.

Hoa Bach, 58, was jailed for 18 months yesterday after pleading guilty to producing cannabis and was told he will be deported after completing his sentence.

Bach was hired as a gardener to look after 297 plants at a three-bedroom house in Kelso Gardens, Burley, Leeds.

Police raided the property on December 15 last year after reports of a strong smell of cannabis coming from inside the house.

Bach was sleeping on the sofa as all three bedrooms and the loft were full of cannabis plants.

A sophisticated growing system was in place capable of producing 12kgs of the class B drug with a street value of £110,000.

Richard Smith, prosecuting, said there was potential to produce five crops per year, capable of producing over half a million pounds worth of the drug.

Bach, of no fixed address, refused to name anyone else involved in the illegal enterprise.

Stuart Field, mitigating, said Bach entered the UK in 2010 hidden on the back of a truck.

He said he had handed over £1,600 to some men who had promised him a job so he could send money back to his wife and children.

Mr Field said Bach did not realise the men were human traffickers and he went on to endure a “nightmare” experience in the UK.

He managed to find work as restaurant dishwasher before being sacked and was then offered work in Leeds.

When he arrived in West Yorkshire he realised he was being employed to do something illegal but was trapped in a foreign city with no money or anywhere to stay and was desperate.

Jailing Bach, Recorder Edmund Bindloss said: “I am not required to make a deportation order but if it was within my discretion I would unhesitatingly order deportation in your case.”