TWO men have been jailed and recommended for deportation after they were caught tending 266 cannabis plants at a sophisticated drug factory in Bradford.

Reji Xhaja, 24, and Hima Indrit, 25, were arrested in the kitchen at the address in Wyke Crescent, Wyke, on the afternoon of June 19, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Prosecutor Clare Walsh said a large room on the ground floor, together with three bedrooms and the loft, had been turned into growing rooms. It was a sophisticated cannabis factory with lined walls and lamps and transformers powered by illegally bypassed electricity.

Both men were unlawfully in the United Kingdom and neither had any recorded previous convictions.

They were held in Leeds Prison following their arrest and pleaded guilty to production of cannabis at the earliest opportunity.

Indrit, who was living at the property along with Xhaja, told the police he was unaware he was tending an illegal crop.

“I didn’t know what it was. I was going to go back to Greece,” he said.

He disclosed that he had been in the country for about four months and the accommodation was arranged for him by a man he had never met. He didn’t want the job but he had nowhere else to go.

The cannabis factory was set up before he moved into the house, he told officers.

Xhaja said he did not know if his prints or DNA would be on the growing equipment and conceded that he had touched it.

He said he had no idea of the rental arrangement at the house and knew nothing about the electricity meter being bypassed.

Glenn Parsons, Indrit’s barrister, said he was a long way from home and spending time in jail would be particularly tough for him.

Nick Worsley, for Xhaja, said he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He and Indrit had come to the UK hoping to find work and had ended up being gardeners at the cannabis factory.

Judge Jonathan Rose jailed each of the men for eight months and recommended that they be deported after they had served their sentences.

He told them: “Each of you was a small cog in a big machine producing a commercial crop of cannabis.”

They had worked at the factory in return for basic accommodation and food. Now they were paying the price by being locked up and then deported.