A MAN caught hiding in the cellar at a "massive" cannabis farm had been locked in the house and beaten by drug gang masters, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Illegal immigrant Tuan Nguyen, who sold his family home in Vietnam to come to the UK to work, wept in the dock as he was jailed for 14 months.

He was found cowering in the basement of a mid-terrace house in Sydenham Place, Undercliffe, Bradford, on June 15 when police acting on a tip-off busted the address.

Prosecutor Peter Byrne told the court yesterday that officers broke into the house to discover 183 cannabis plants growing in five rooms.

The crop was capable of producing 8.23 kilos of cannabis, worth around £30,000.

Terrified Nguyen, 34, told the police he was 13 years old and showed a nurse injuries that he said came from beatings.

His barrister, Kate Batty, said the Home Office was looking into whether he had been trafficked to the United Kingdom but the Crown Prosecution Service wanted to continue with the case whatever that decision.

Mrs Batty said Nguyen, who pleaded guilty to production of cannabis, was a man of good character.

He wanted to serve his prison sentence and be deported back to Vietnam as soon as possible.

He had sold the family home to travel to Britain to make a better life for himself.

But the work he was promised did not materialise and he quickly found himself living at the cannabis farm under orders to tend the plants.

"He is upset and frustrated by the situation he finds himself in," Mrs Batty said.

Nguyen, who had been held in jail since his arrest, had been found at the house with marks and bruises on his body that he claimed were from beatings.

He was assisted by an interpreter throughout the hearing and broke down as Judge Jonathan Rose told him: "You spent a few weeks growing a massive crop of cannabis. That is a serious criminal offence."

Nguyen had brought shame on himself and his family, the judge said.

He had come to the UK hoping to find riches but had met with violence and a prison sentence.

Judge Rose urged Nguyen to spread the word about what had happened to him to family members, friends and "all those who will listen to you".

He warned that people caught tending cannabis farms would always go to prison.