A court has heard that a pair of rental agents have been offered £ 7,000 for not reporting rental property in a ‘cannabis factory’ in Exeter to police.
The couple declined the offer after discovering the drug factory, which was run by 25-year-old Albanian tenant Anisi Hamollari (pictured) who had emptied the property after renting it out in February 2020.
He grew 97 cannabis plants worth £ 200,000 there.
Following complaints from neighbors in June of that year about the strong smell coming from the house, the two anonymous rental agents were called in to inspect the address, but Hamollari turned them away twice before they ultimately access it.
It was at this point that he offered a financial incentive to keep his activities silent.
When this failed and officers called the police, Hamollari escaped and was caught in the West Midlands during a vehicle stop and, although he provided false Italian identity documents, the the car contained genuine ones indicating his true identity, as well as a bundle of cash.
Hamollari told police he was trafficked into the UK by organized criminals and coerced into committing the offenses, report DevonLive, and that he believed his work in the UK would be legitimate.
Exeter Crown Court heard damage to property amounted to £ 15,000, but £ 6,438 paid by Albanian as rent six months in advance and £ 2,839 seized when stopping the vehicle could help to some extent to recover these costs.
Hamollari was sentenced to 18 months in prison and will be deported upon his release from prison.
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Photo credit: Devon and Cornwall Police