Police called to an ongoing burglary found the house door smashed and cannabis plants strewn over the steps, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Inside the address in Maidstone Street, Bradford Moor, officers found a Vietnamese man with designer clothing, two phones and £86 in cash.

Today, Le Van-Le, 39, of no fixed address, was imprisoned for two years and seven months after pleading guilty to production of cannabis.

Recorder Michael Fanning said that although Van-Le, an illegal immigrant, had at first suggested he was trafficked to the country “he now no longer suggests that he was a slave in the enterprise.”

Prosecutor Adam Walker said that the police were called to the house at 9.50pm on February 1 after reports that three men in balaclavas had broken in and were carrying out plants.

Cannabis plants were strewn on the front steps and the door was smashed.

There were 250 plants in the house over four floors, with lights, heating equipment and other paraphernalia, Mr Walker said.

Of the 50 plants in the living room, only 12 were intact the rest had been stolen by the raiders.

Van-Le was hiding behind the living room door with a rucksack. He had designer clothing, two phones, money and his passport with him.

He was the only person at the address and after his arrest he told the police he was working there to get home to Vietnam.

He claimed to be the victim of traffickers and said he had been locked in the property for two to three days.

Mr Walker said the Crown did not accept that he was a victim of Modern Slavery but that he played a significant role in the enterprise.

Van-Le’s solicitor advocate, Tom Rushbrooke, said he came to the United Kingdom illegally to better his prospects and earn money for his family.

He arrived after travelling in cars, vans and a container.

“He soon realised that the streets of this country weren’t paved with gold and he wished to return home,” Mr Rushbrooke said.

A Vietnamese woman offered him the job watering the plants and he was given the clothing, the phones and the money by fellow countrymen because he had arrived in the UK with nothing.

Van-Le was divorced with two young children in Vietnam. He had worked as a labourer and was keen to be deported back to his homeland.

Recorder Fanning said that Van-Le had played a significant role at the cannabis farm, he wasn’t pressed into working there.

He was well aware of the scale of the operation. “It was there in front of your eyes,” he said.

The recorder told Van-Le, who was in custody on remand, that he could expect to be de-ported when he had served his sentence.