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Police officers sniffed out cannabis farm

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A THREE-storey cannabis farm at a South Tyneside house was uncovered by police who followed their noses.

Officers sniffed out the “sophisticated” 216-plant factory by following the smell of drugs in the street.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when officers knocked on a door in Beaufront Terrace, South Shields, they found cannabis growing on all three floors of the building.

Vietnamese nationals Hinh Van Nguyen, 33, and Cong Than Tran, 28 were both arrested inside the property when police turned up in January.

The men, who were “gardeners” at the drugs farm, admitted production of cannabis.

They now face deportation from the country.

The court heard that the yield from the plants inside could have produced more than 10 kilos of cannabis.

Paul Rowland, prosecuting, said: “Police were attracted to the address by the smell of cannabis.

“It was discovered there was a sophisticated cannabis farm in operation over three floors of that premises.

“There was a total of 216 plants there in various stages of growth.”

Mr Recorder Camp sentenced them both to six months behind bars, meaning they will be almost immediately released due to time served on remand.

The judge warned them: “It is likely you will then be moved into detention while the Home Secretary makes arrangements to deport you.”

The judge said he accepted the men were the “tools of others” and had no real option but to do what they were told.

Defence barristers said the pair arrived with the hope of getting legitimate work so they could send cash back home to their families.

The court heard both men had worked in the south of England before being transported north by those in charge of them.

David Combe, for Tran, said: “There is no one in the operation performing a lesser role than these men.”

Rachel Mangini, for Nguyen, said: “He is anxious to get back to Vietnam.”

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