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Gloucestershire Business News

Man charged with tending cannabis farm in Lydney

An Albanian man who tended a cannabis farm in the Forest of Dean was jailed for 8 months yesterday as a result of a police raid which caught him arriving at the premises when officers were already inside.

Klevis Barjoti, 25, of Burlington Road, New Malden, Surrey pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday (March 17) to producing cannabis in Lydney on February 12 2021.

Prosecutor Charlotte Evans said that on February 11 police discovered a cannabis farm with plants growing on the first floor and in the roof space of a property in Queen Street, Lydney.

There were 48 plants in one room, 57 seedlings in the loft space and an empty room that indicated that a cannabis yield had recently been harvested.

Ms Evans said: "The police were still carrying out their investigations at the property the next morning when Barjoti entered the property at 9.30am with two other men.

"Barjoti then attempted to run away, but officers give chase and arrested him.

"The police investigation concluded that a continual cycle of cannabis plant growing was being conducted at the property, which was using electricity that had been bypassed from the meter.

"It was described as being a sophisticated and specialised environment. The yield of the 48 viable plants would have been worth between £5,000 and £25,000 depending on how it was sold."

The court heard that when Barjoti was interviewed by police he said in a prepared statement that for tending the plants he was offered food and accommodation and he had arrived at the address three weeks earlier. He stated he hadn't benefit from it financially, but he was expecting some form of payment at a later date.

Stephen Bailey defending said: "Barjoti is a man of good character who made an error of judgement when he accepted this role.

"He had only been watering the plants at the Lydney property for three weeks when he was caught. He had previously been working in the building trade but lost his job due to the pandemic.

"Barjoti accepts his role of tending the plants, but he was not complicit in the cannabis production itself nor was he involved in setting it up. He does not know who else was in the chain of command above him.

"He was hoping to save enough money from doing this to put down a deposit for a flat. He didn't receive any payment for the work he did do.

"He now realises that he shouldn't have allowed his pride to get in the way of asking for financial help and needing a roof over his head.

"He was approached by a man who suggested carrying out the operation in Lydney. Stupidly he accepted and he is angry with himself for going down this route and committing the offence."

Judge Recorder Robin Sellers told Barjoti: "The facts of this case are all too familiar to the courts.

"The investigating officer concluded that the cannabis factory had been in operation for some time and that a yield had already taken place. There were seedlings ready for future use.

"It is clear that this was a conveyor belt of cannabis production and a business-like commercial enterprise.

"I accept that you had a lesser role in the operation and that you were in a difficult situation when you lost your job and your accommodation.

Your decision to join in this financial enterprise, instead of asking for help, is one of the reasons why cannabis farms like this exist.

"Whether it was your stupidity, naivety or pride, you joined a criminal enterprise instead of asking for help, however only a custodial sentenced can be justified."

The judge sentenced Barjoti to eight months in prison and stated that because of the seriousness of the offence he was unable to suspend the term. He also ordered Barjoti to pay a victim surcharge of £156 and for the forfeiture and destruction of all the relevant drug paraphernalia.

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