The value of the crop has been estimated at between £594,160 and £1.78 million, with a potential annual value from plants grown at the factory of between £2.376 million and £7.129 million.
Kastriot Aliaj, aged 31, of no fixed abode was found guilty following a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court of offences of being concerned in the production of a class B drug and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property. He was sentenced on Monday 29 March to five years in prison.
Arber Aliaj, 23, and Leonard Bruci aged 27, both of no fixed abode, admitted an offence of being concerned in the production of a class B drug at an earlier hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court on 26 June 2020. They were sentenced on 29 January 2021 to two years and three months in prison.
A fourth man, aged 47 and of no fixed abode, was also charged with being concerned in the production of a class B drug but the jury did not reach a verdict in his case following a trial and he will face no further action.
On 27 December 2019 officers executed a warrant at a number of industrial units on the Sandford Lane Industrial Estate following reports of suspicious activity involving a white van.
Officers discovered that the units had been knocked through to form a single, large, cannabis growing facility, with the building separated into different growing zones using plastic sheeting. They discovered a number of plants at various stages of growth.
Bruci, Arber Aliaj and another man were found inside the premises and arrested. All three stated that they were Albanian nationals.
Kastriot Aliaj had been stopped in the white van seen acting suspiciously and was arrested in connection with the discovery of the cannabis factory.
The total number of plants, including cuttings and seedlings found in the building was 2,122. A drugs expert estimated that the value of the crop was between £594,160 and £1.78 million, with a potential annual value from plants grown at the facility of between £2.376 million and £7.129 million.
The fingerprints of Arber Aliaj and Leonard Bruci were found on various items of growing equipment in the factory.
Analysis of phones seized from the defendants showed that Kastriot Aliaj had been in repeated contact with the others and appeared to be travelling between Birmingham and Wareham on a regular basis.
DC Declan Cummings, of Dorset Police, said: “These men were clearly involved in a major operation to produce illegal drugs and thanks to information received from a member of the public, we were able to uncover their factory and seize a significant quantity of cannabis.
“We are fully aware of the detrimental impact the supply of illegal drugs and related activity has on our communities and we will do all we can to disrupt the efforts of those involved in the supply chain.
Please share post:
Follow us on