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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Vietnamese pair who ran drug farm jailed by Carlisle court

Two Vietnamese illegal immigrants have been jailed after they admitted being involved in running a cannabis farm.

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Lighting gear: DI Inspector Paul Barnes shows some of the equipment seized during the raid

Related: Pair facing jail over Cumbrian cannabis farm

Tan Van Hoang, 38, and Hien Thi Phan, 36, were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court for their part in the drug trade.

Both had pleaded guilty to charges of being concerned in the production of cannabis.

They were arrested following a raid at their house in Flimby, near Maryport, in July.

The home contained 700 cannabis plants, with equipment needed to cultivate the class B drug.

The prosecution had argued the drugs were worth £400,000 but the defence said they would be worth less than this.

Judge Peter Hughes, presiding, said they had been exploited by members of their own community, who had brought them to the United Kingdom.

But he added that they had been involved in an “evil trade”.

“When the police arrived they found a total of 641 plants,” he said.

“Just what the value of the cannabis was is hard to say because so much depends on the skill of the person who is caring for the plants.”

However, he added that this could be estimated at around £250,000.

Jonathan Clarke, who defended Phan, told the court she came from a poor area of Vietnam and had been trafficked to the UK after being promised she would make more money, which she could send back to Vietnam to support her family.

He added that after she arrived she was exploited by the traffickers and worked around the country, including periods of time in Birmingham and Manchester working in a variety of roles, primarily as a nanny, and was not able to send any money home as a result.

She was paying a “social visit” Huang in Cumbria when both were arrested.

Hoang was sentenced to two years in prison for the offence, while Phan will serve 10 months.

Mr Hughes added that, as both are illegal immigrants, it is likely they will be deported, either to serve their sentences in Vietnam or returned to their home country once their time is served.

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