Police found thousands of weed plants inside abandoned supermarket

News 23/08/2019

What a find. Police raiding an abandoned Woolworths store in Longton, Staffordshire found thousands of cannabis plants after being alerted by passers by noticing a strong weed smell coming from the building. 

The hunch certainly wasn't wrong - 2,647 plants were found inside. Oooossshh. 

The old supermarket had been divided into 14 seperate rooms with bright lights installed to help the growth of their illegal crop. 

Gardener Thoan Hoang was busted inside the building on 10th July and has now been jailed for 16 months. He admitted to producing cannabis between 4th and 11th July. 

Prosecutor Neil Ahuja said: "Entry was forced. Police discovered bright lights and a significant number of cannabis plants. The defendant walked into their view and was detained. Plasterboard had been used to create 14 rooms with a significant number of plants growing in 13 of them. In total there were 2,647 cannabis plants."

37-year-old Hoang's defence lawyers said he'd entered the country  illegally and was forced to spend a long time paying off the traffickers that had brought him into the UK. 

He told police he was driven to the premises in Longton and told to turn the electricity on and off. He also claimed he didn't know what the plants were, hated the smell of them, and was so badly biten by insects that he wanted to leave. 

Mitigating, Darron Whitehead said: "He was brought to Stoke-on-Trent and effectively locked in this industrial unit,"

"It plainly was not his operation. He was a gardener and did not enjoy it. He did not really understand that they were cannabis plants. It is another example of a young man trying to make a better life for himself and his family,"

"His desire is to return home. He knows he is to be deported."

Sentencing, Judfe Paul Glenn said: "This was a professional operation with specialist lighting and ventilation. When you enter the country illegally with no right to remain you make yourself vulnerable to exploitation."

The Woolworths store had been officially closed since 30 December 2008.