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Albanian man appears in court charged over £1.9m cannabis farm


A 42-year-old Albanian man has appeared in court after being accused of running a £1.9 million cannabis factory above a Job Centre Plus building.

Police officers raided the upper floors of the employment centre in August, where they found 2,300 cannabis plants growing across 16 different vacant floors.

They had forced their way into the property after receiving a number of reports from members of the public.

Ylber Dajci, who claims to have been trafficked from Albania to the UK just over a year ago, admitted that he had been 'gainfully employed' as the factory's gardener between August 17 and August 22.

He did, however, deny that he had been behind the manufacturing and production of the cannabis being produced on Eastgate Street.

Prosecutor Lucy Stoker said that his admission was not acceptable and that a trial would be needed on the original charge.

She added that because the plants were at different stages of development it was not easy to assess the value.

'But if the plants had been allowed to grow to full maturity, the yield would have been valued between £600,000 and £1.9million, if sold in street deals,' said Ms Stoker.

Ahead of the raid extensive electrical work had taken place in the building, with the electric meter to the upper floors being bypassed.

Dajci, of no fixed abode, admitted he was employed as a gardener in the building and his role was to look after the plants.

Dajci was remanded in custody to await a jury trial starting on February 19th 2024.