Exmouth cannabis farmer jailed for 16 months
- 12 December 2013
- From the section Devon
A cannabis grower found hiding from police in a child's pink Wendy house has been jailed for 16 months.
Vietnamese Van Phan, 19, fled as police raided the cannabis operation above a undertaker's shop in Exmouth, Devon.
Police found hundreds of plants after the watering system overflowed and leaked through the floor, flooding a funeral parlour.
Phan admitted the production of cannabis and was jailed, at Exeter Crown Court.
Staff at the Palmers Funeral Directors in Rolle Street alerted Devon and Cornwall Police when slimy brown water started dripping through the roof.
Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said there were 304 plants on the first floor and another crop in three more rooms, but police had not been able to estimate a likely yield.
The court heard Phan was smuggled into Britain about four years ago and was hired to look after the Exmouth operation where he acted as gardener.
James Calderbank, defending, said Phan was vulnerable to exploitation because he was an illegal immigrant who spoke no English and could not find any normal work.
Jailing Phan, Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, described the operation as being on a "commercial scale", and recommended Phan's deportation.