Men jailed after officers sniff out sophisticated cannabis operation

Three men have each been sentenced to 30 months in prison after being involved in a sophisticated cannabis cultivation operation in Barrow.


Ervis Hida, 32, Klajdi Muzhaqi, 20 and Olgert Bica, 35, all admitted production of cannabis and were sentenced on Monday (27 Nov) at Preston Crown Court.


The court heard how police received a report of a suspicious vehicle at the rear of the Royal Hotel in Anchor Road on 27 October 2023.


The officer who attended reported a strong smell of cannabis coming from one of the windows of the closed down property.


The officer investigated further and noted that a fuse box appeared to have been tampered with – noting multiple wires coming from the box in all directions.


The suspicions resulted in officers entering the property at around 11.15pm.


Inside they found 15 rooms containing cannabis plants of various stages of maturity.


Each room contained at least 20 to 30 plants, with some containing as many as 50.


In all 15 of the rooms, heat lamps and fans had been set up.


Attempts had been made to secure all entrances to the property and the rooms which the cannabis plants were housed.


As well as locating the plants, the officers attending also located the three defendants – hiding in a loft area.


All three were living at the hotel prior to their arrest.


The suspects gave no comment interviews but admitted the offences at court.


Detective Constable Damian West said: “This significant drug production operation was uncovered thanks to some diligent police work from officers who recognised suspicious activity and literally followed their noses.


“Not only were they able to uncover the cannabis operation but were also able to arrest the three individuals hiding in a loft beneath a substantial amount of cardboard.


“This is a significant result which all stemmed from a call from a member of the public about suspicions regarding a vehicle at the premises.


“We would continue to urge the public to be our eyes and ears. Where people have suspicions of illegal activity in their community they should contact the police so officers can take action – as was the case at the Royal Hotel.”

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