Two cannabis gardeners were caught feasting on a “lavish” spread of chicken, cheese and grapes with a case of Budweiser to hand, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

The Albanian nationals were arrested at a house in Welbury Drive, near Oak Lane, Manningham, Bradford, after the police broke in acting on a tip-off from a member of the public.

Arlind Sinani and Lajdjon Kaca, both 22, had been living at the address for months tending to a substantial cannabis farm there, prosecutor Syam Soni said.

They pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and were each jailed for two years and nine months.

The court heard that the police forced their way into the house on February 25 and seized 287 cannabis plants and specialist equipment, including 37 transformers.

A sheet was covering the front door to stop people looking in but a pungent smell of cannabis was apparent from the outside.

Kaca was in the living room and arrested trying to flee upstairs.

Sinani was hiding under a table, the court heard.

The electricity supply had been bypassed and the street had to be dug up to put matters right.

Mr Soni said there had been a recent harvest of cannabis at the address with 300 stems found.

Sinani had £300 in his bank account and there was evidence of “lavish” eating, the court heard.

He told the police he had arrived in the United Kingdom in the back of a lorry in 2016 and that tending to the cannabis farm was “his job.”

Mr Soni said that both men were likely to be deported after they had served their prison sentences.

Christopher Haddock said in mitigation for Sinani that he had worked in London as a groundsman and labourer until the coronavirus pandemic ended that employment.

He was offered the opportunity to live at the house in Bradford five months ago and had been a caretaker there since in return for expenses and food.

“The lifestyle could hardly be described as lavish. There was cooked chicken and a few bottles of Budweiser,” Mr Haddock said.

Jonathan Turner, for Kaca, told the court: “The defendant and his parents were miss-sold the dream by people smugglers that this country’s streets were paved with gold.”

His parents invested their £2,000 life-savings as a deposit to smuggle him into the country.

He still owed £20,000 and was working to repay it.

He needed permission to leave the Bradford house and had been allowed out once a week to buy groceries.

Judge Jonathan Rose said that Kaca may have been miss-sold the dream that the streets were paved with gold but “the streets of this country will not be lined or paved with cannabis.”

The police had found “a half-eaten feast” of chicken, cheese and grapes and a case of Budweiser at the address, he continued.

“Both of you were living well as part of your employment as gardeners,” Judge Rose said.