Man in dressing gown and slippers caught tending £60k drug factory in suburbs
PUBLISHED: 14:43 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 01 October 2020
A Thorpe St Andrew home was turned into a drugs factory to produce cannabis worth more than £60,000.
Mindaughes Noreika, 39, acted as gardener tending the cannabis plants and answered the door wearing his dressing down and slippers when police raided the four-bedroomed home in Thunder Lane on May 5.
John Morgans, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said that Noreika had been living downstairs in the property, but all the bedrooms and the bathroom upstairs had been turned into a cannabis factory.
Mr Morgans said there were 26 plants in one room and in another there were 84 pots, where the mature cannabis plants had already been harvested.
He said that police found bags of cannabis weighing eight kilos, which had a value of £50,000.
He said that seizure was on top of the cannabis which was waiting to be harvested, which had a value of £8,000 to £10,000.
Mr Morgans said that Noreika had been acting as a gardener for the cannabis found growing at the property.
Noreika, who had the help of a Lithuanian interpreter in court, admitted being involved in the production of cannabis from October 1 2019 to May 5 this year.
He was jailed for two years and eight months and told that he faces being deported at the end of his sentence.
Jailing him, Judge Andrew Shaw told Noreika that he had been involved in a cannabis operation set up in a suburban area of Norwich and described it as a sophisticated set up.
He said: “You plainly were motivated by financial advantage. This was an operation capable of producing a significant quantity of cannabis.”
He added: “Yours was a significant role. I an quite sure you would have profited from that supply.”
Jonathan Goodman, for Noreika, said that he had come to the UK to try to find work.
However when he failed to find a job he was given the offer of earning money by looking after the cannabis plants.
“He could not find any legal work. He was tempted by individuals to carry out the role of gardener at this house.”
He said that Noreika was not going to make much money from the enterprise.
Mr Goodman said: “He put his hands up for what he did and knows he has to be punished.”
People living along the street said they had not been aware of the cannabis factory before police arrived, but said officers had spent hours clearing out the house.
One said tenants moved in and out of the property fairly often, but that it had been quiet in the weeks before the discovery.
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