Vietnamese man who tended 200 cannabis plants at a Leamington house to earn money to repay the people-smugglers who had brought him into the country has been jailed

“I accept you will have been vulnerable to exploitation, but you went into this with your eyes open, with the chance of making some easy money,” said the judge

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 11:24 am

A Vietnamese man who tended 200 cannabis plants at a Leamington house to earn money to repay the people-smugglers who had brought him into the country has been jailed.

Bui Van Vinh pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to producing cannabis at the house in Plymouth Place, Leamington.

Vinh (38) of no fixed address, was jailed for 16 months – and was told that he is likely to be deported after serving his sentence.

Police found about 200 cannabis plants at a house in Plymouth Place, Leamington.

Prosecutor Richard Witcombe said that on February 8 the police raided a house in Plymouth Place which it was suspected was being used as a cannabis factory.

Inside they found a total of 200 cannabis plants being grown in three rooms in which growing lights and other equipment had been installed.

Vinh, who was at the house, was arrested, and said he was to be paid £3,000 for looking after the crop, although he had not yet received any of it.

Mr Witcome observed: “This was a man who appeared to be performing a limited function, although he had the freedom to come and go as he pleased and had keys to both doors.”

Richard Baker, defending, said: “Bui Vinh paid a significant sum of money, the equivalent of about £30,000, to be brought into this country.

“His family in Vietnam and he were poor, so he came to Britain to help them financially.

“But his lack of English has been a huge impediment to his attempts to get work, and he fell in with individuals who gave him a chance to earn money.”

Jailing Vinh, Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC told him through an interpreter: “You have pleaded guilty to your part in the growth of this cannabis, the cultivation of some 200 plants.

“I accept your background that you came over here looking for work, hoping to earn enough money to repay your debt for your illegal entry into the United Kingdom and to send money back to your family in Vietnam.

“It was always going to be difficult for you – first because you were here illegally, and second because you don’t speak English.

“I accept you will have been vulnerable to exploitation, but you went into this with your eyes open, with the chance of making some easy money.”

The police investigation was led by the Leamington Safer Neighborhood Team (SNT). After the court case, PC Paige Johnson from Leamington SNT said: "We welcome the sentence handed out by the court to Mr Vinh.

"This sort of offending is an emerging problem in Leamington and I hope that the sentence sends a strong message that it will not be tolerated.

"I would encourage any members of the public who think that cannabis is being grown in their neighborhood to report their concerns so that action can be taken".

"Anyone with information about drug dealing or production can report their concerns via 101 or on our website. Information can also be provided anonymously via CrimeStoppers."