Man jailed after being found hiding in a cannabis factory
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A 30-year-old man found hiding behind cannabis plants in a suspected drug factory has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to the production of a Class B drug.
Alger Cepele was arrested at a house in Shearwater Lane, Wellingborough, after officers from the town’s Neighbourhood Policing Team executed a warrant under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act on Friday, December 8.
During the search of the property, officers found Cepele hiding in a back bedroom along with some of the 304 cannabis plants in various states of growth, which were spread across several rooms.
In addition to the plants, which are believed to have an estimated street value of £45,000, officers also seized three mobile phones, associated equipment required to produce the Class B drug and a weekly planner containing a detailed watering schedule.
Cepele, who was the sole occupant of the house at the time of the search, was arrested and during his police interview, he provided a prepared statement which stated he was Albanian and had entered the UK illegally more than 18 months ago.
The statement said that he owed a large amount of money after paying to enter the UK on the back of lorry and was told to live at the address and look after the cannabis plants to pay off this debt.
Cepele was charged with the production of a controlled Class B drug – namely cannabis – and appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, December 9, where he pleaded guilty to the single charge.
He was remanded in custody and his case was committed to the Northampton Crown Court for sentencing and on Thursday, January 18, he appeared before a judge who ordered him to serve 18 months in prison.
Detective Constable Craig Copeland of North LPA CID Team, who led the investigation, said: “People may think that the production of cannabis is a victimless crime, but what they don’t realise is those at the top of the chain make very large sums of money from producing and distributing the drug, while often exploiting vulnerable people at the same time.
“Tackling and preventing drug harm is a matter of priority for the Force and we will continue to act on information and concerns raised by our communities to disrupt drug dealers, who prey on the most vulnerable people in our society and bring misery to others.
“This is a prime example of how we can work together with our partners and residents to take positive action against issues affecting them and I would urge anyone who has concerns about drug dealing within their local communities to keep reporting suspicious activity to us.”
If anyone has concerns about drug dealing or any other illegal activities, please report it to us on 101, online at www.northants.police.uk/ro or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.