A cannabis gardener was tortured, beaten and stabbed when burglars raided the address he was guarding to steal the crop, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Albanian national Ardit Pali had visible injuries on his legs after he was violently set-upon at the grow in Heaton Road, in the city, his barrister said.

Pali, 24, of no fixed address, appeared before the court on a video link to Leeds Prison where he is being held on remand.

He pleaded guilty to production of cannabis on July 10 and will be sentenced next Thursday after Mr Dallas has had a full conference with him.

His plight is another warning of the dangers faced by men left to guard valuable crops of cannabis in the city.

Pali, who was assisted by an Albanian interpreter, was smuggled into the United Kingdom and taken to the cannabis farm.

Mr Dallas said thieves raided the address, getting away with some of the crop.

“He was beaten up, stabbed and tortured,” he said.

Pali told the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, that his wounds were clearly visible.

Prosecutor Ian Howard said there were 30 pots at the address that had contained cannabis plants and 70 small plants forming a follow-on crop.

Judge Mansell accepted that Pali was “a lowly gardener who had been trafficked and used.”

A series of Albanian men have appeared at Bradford Crown Court in custody after being arrested at cannabis farms in the city.

They are often brought into the country in the back of lorries and then set to work cultivating the plants to pay off the debt to the traffickers.

Most are economic migrants hoping to send money home to sick and elderly relatives in Albania.

Their living conditions in the United Kingdom are usually squalid although some have full fridges, phones and keys to the doors at the addresses.

Judges in Bradford have repeatedly warned that the streets are not paved with gold and that the men often face a life of near-slavery for the gangmasters.

In March, the Telegraph & Argus reported on the case of Eyon Kola who was guarding a £75,000 cannabis farm in Barmouth Terrace, Bradford, when it was attacked by five men with machetes.

They smashed down the door and plundered the plants, fleeing in a getaway car when the police arrived.

Kola, 23, an Albanian national, was found hiding in bushes nearby and jailed for 18 months by Judge Jonathan Rose who warned of the danger of “wicked men armed with machetes,” coming to raid the cannabis plants.

His barrister said his client came to the United Kingdom in a lorry and wanted to improve his life and send money back to his family.