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Suspended Sentence After Cannabis Raid

I C Birmingham, 9th February 2006

Police who raided a Birmingham terraced house found two bedrooms crammed full of cannabis plants linked to a sophisticated growing system, the city's Crown Court heard.

Officers recovered 123 plants with a potential cannabis yield of up to £36,000.

Chong Lo (47) of Burbury Street, Lozells, who admitted being concerned in the production of a controlled drug, was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

In passing sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath said anyone involved in this activity, on this scale, would expect to go to prison for a significant period.

But he accepted Lo had only played a limited role by tendering and watering plants and she only became aware of what they were shortly before police carried out the raid.

Nigel Hall, prosecuting, said there were 51 plants in one bedroom, between three and three-and-a-half feet tall, and 72 in another.

In each room he said bulbs had been hung on chains on the wall and a ventilation, air circulation and watering system put in place.

He said the mains had been tapped into and a direct supply was being fed to the lighting rather than through the meter.

Officers also discovered rooting powder, 20 bottles of fertilizer and spare bulbs, along with a bag of cannabis. Lo said a man, believed to be Vietnamese, rented the rooms from her and moved in in the middle of the night. She said he paid her for watering the plants which he said were flowers for selling in the market.

William Panton, defending, said it was two weeks before police arrived Lo realised an illegal operation was going on.

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