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Migrants working on cannabis farms within three days of crossing Channel


Albanian migrants are working at cannabis farms within three days of crossing the Channel, an investigation has found.

The men are being actively recruited by drug lords to cultivate cannabis in empty houses and industrial buildings that have been converted into production sites following their release from detention.

The migrants, the majority of whom are men in their 20s, carry out the work to help pay £5,000 debts owed to Kurdish people smugglers following treacherous journeys in dinghies across the Channel.

It comes as the Ministry of Justice revealed that a record £1.2 million has been spent in the last year alone to provide Albanian translators to communicate legal proceedings to suspected criminals - more than double the figure five years ago.

That surge comes as the number of Albanians locked up in prisons in England and Wales has also soared from 726 to 1,500.

Speaking to Albanian TV's A2CNN, one migrant said he was working in London after spending a week in 'mountains' in France after three attempts to cross the Channel were blocked by authorities - who punctured the inflatable boats he had planned to use.

As he made a fourth attempt, he had to be rescued by the UK coastguard after his packed dinghy ran out of petrol, The Telegraph reports.

He told the documentary: 'We were kept for three days in a detention centre then transferred to a hotel. I managed to talk with my relative who came and took me from the hotel. 

'I am working in a cannabis house to pay the money I borrowed to pay for the journey on the boat.'

More than 32,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year – more than made it through the whole of 2021.

Albanians accounted for about 60 per cent of arrivals over the summer, with Home Office officials saying more than 6,000 have arrived in the UK up to August this year in sub-standard dinghies and rigid inflatables - compared with less than 900 in the previous three years combined.