Immigrants jailed for work on Shipley cannabis factory

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Two illegal immigrants were jailed today following a police raid on a former West Yorkshire mill which had been converted into a cannabis factory.

Officers forced their way into the premises on Ashley Lane, Shipley, last November, after reports of a strong smell of cannabis in the area.

Inside the mill they found 1,750 cannabis plants being grown in four large rooms which had been “fabricated” within the premises.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp told Bradford Crown Court today that the electricity supply to the mill had been bypassed and the rooms, which were lined with plastic sheeting, had been equipped with high-powered lighting and ventilation.

Mr Sharp said the plants could have yielded about 85 kilograms of cannabis with a street value of between £500,000 and £600,000.

Vietnamese nationals Canh Cong Pham, 37, and Ha Xuan Ngo, 41, were each sentenced to 20 months in prison after they admitted being involved in the cannabis production by watering and feeding the plants.

The court heard that Pham had previously been deported, but he returned to this country in the back of a lorry three months before the raid on the mill.

The two men had been brought up to Bradford and promised work, but there were given “squalid” accommodation in the mill and paid no wages.

Barrister Peter Hampton, for Pham, said his client didn’t set foot outside the mill during the time he was in Shipley. “He was constantly watched over by those further up the tree than him until he was arrested and now inevitably he’ll be sent home to face whatever awaits him in Vietnam,” said Mr Hampton.