Three men jailed after Lancashire's 'largest ever cannabis farm' worth £2.6 million uncovered
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Aurel Gjuzi, Sulejman Lloni and Jacek Pieczur were sentenced to a combined total of just over 10 years at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday (September 8) for their part in the production of the class B drug - estimated to be worth more than £2.6million.
Police unearthed the huge cannabis grow in units at the Apex Trading Estate in Darwen at around 10am on October 8, 2019.
The defendants were living in the unit on Lower Eccleshill Road, where £2,425 in cash along with a number of mobile phones were also recovered, at the time of the discovery.
DC Vicky Heys, of East CID, said: "This is believed to be one of the largest ever cannabis farms in Lancashire with a substantial street value of cannabis being cultivated there. The sentences given today should send a clear message to other criminal gangs engaging in similar activity that this will not be tolerated.
"We work hard to find and close down illegal factories such as this because of the harm they cause and the associated criminal acts associated with these operations. We will continue to proactively target those people within our community and offenders will be put before the courts and brought to justice, as has been the case here.”
Gjuzi and Pieczur, both 25-years-old, were each jailed for three years and Lloni, 32, was locked up for 54 months.
Officers say the factory was powered by a series of underground cables in order to bypass the electricity supply, which took Electricity Northwest 13 hours to rectify.
Some of the equipment being used to cultivate the cannabis, including lamps, reflectors, bulbs, transformers and temperature gauges, was donated to Blackpool Zoo after the set-up had been dismantled.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "This is a great example of the excellent work being done by Lancashire officers to keep drugs off our streets and tackle criminal gangs.
"I hope this sends a clear message to those who are getting involved in organised crime that the police have the resources, skills and determination to crack organisations like this and bring their members to justice.
"The public should be re-assured that this type of high level investigation work is taking place. While it is not always visible it is happening and achieving real results like those we have seen in court today."
Anybody with concerns about criminality in their area should call police on 101 or report it online at https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk
Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or via their website crimestoppers-uk.org