Awash with cannabis plants and drug farm paraphernalia, this is the condition in which gangsters left an outwardly respectable family home.
The former occupant had died and the property in North Shields had been taken over by the mortgage company.
But criminals illegally moved in and transformed the house into a drug-making factory capable of producing large amounts of cannabis.
Footage from within the farm shows cables, tubes and other items associated with growing the drug had been installed throughout the home, where the electricity had been bypassed.
Vietnamese ‘farmer’ Tien Phan was being paid by a ‘boss’ to look after the plants and was promised the more he grew, the more he would be paid.
Newcastle Crown Court heard there were a total of 247 plants in the house on Wallsend Road, North Shields, when it was raided.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: “Three upstairs rooms and one downstairs room had been given over to the production of the drug.
“A total of 207 plants and 40 cuttings were found across four rooms and in the loft.”
Although the larger plants had not reached full maturity, at the time they were found they were capable of producing 7.5 kilos of cannabis, with seedlings in the loft capable of producing a further 1.5 kilos, the court heard.
Mr Bunch said: “The defendant was arrested and interviewed and he gave a prepared statement to the police saying he was responsible for growing the plants.
“He said he was paid to do so and the amount he was paid depended on how many plants he grew.
“He said he had a boss who would collect the cannabis but he would not say who that person was.”
The prosecutor added: “The address was unlawfully occupied, the previous resident having died, the mortgage company had taken on the property.
“This was not the usual case in which it was lawfully rented then used as a cannabis farm.”
Phan, 22, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and abstracting electricity and was jailed for 18 months. He will be deported after serving the sentence.
The court heard Phan had arrived in the UK in 2010 as a 14-year-old hoping for a better life but he wants to return to his family in Vietnam.
Tony Cornberg, mitigating, said: “This crop was not harvested so he was not paid. The only other advantage he got was they filled the fridge and cupboard with food for him to consume while working there.”
The court heard Phan had been arrested when 16 in 2012 for being concerned in the production of cannabis in Croydon but the case was not pursued.
Arrangements were made for him to be accommodated by the local authority but he did not take the opportunity and in 2013 he was arrested at a property in Newcastle where cannabis was found. He was released under investigation but never charged.
In November last year he was arrested for possessing cannabis but no action was taken against him.
Mr Bunch said Phan has not “availed himself of support” from the immigration authorities.
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