POLICE uncovered a cannabis farm after a swoop at a South Tyneside home.
The drugs were being grown in the loft of the address in Dean Road, South Shields.
Officers made four arrests after the farm – containing about 80 cannabis plants – was discovered at about 4.30pm on Wednesday.
Three male Vietnamese nationals and a female Chinese national appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court charged with being concerned with the production of cannabis.
Linh Vu Tran, 20, and Xiaoyan Chen, 24, both of Harton House Road, South Shields, and Thien Van, 48, and Tuan Pham, 30, both of no fixed abode, entered no pleas during the hearing.
The three men appeared separately as they required a A Vietnamese interpretor, with Chen needing a Mandarin-speaking translater for the hearings.
The court heard that the Vietnamese defendants are in the country illegally.
The defendants appeared behind the glass dock after being produced from custody.
Sarah Guest, prosecuting, said the charges were so serious that the case should be heard at the crown court.
The three Vietnamese men were remanded in custody until a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on May 16. Chen was granted conditional bail until her hearing on the same date.
District Judge Roger Elsey, addressing the Vietnamese defendants, said: “You are charged with serious offences and if convicted, could face lengthy prison sentences.
“Two of you do not have stable accommodation and none of you have the right to remain in the country.
“In these circumstances, there is a substantial risk if you are granted bail you would fail to surrender.
“The case will be allocated to Newcastle Crown Court on May 16 and you will be remanded in custody.”