Large-scale Coventry cannabis plant ‘gardener’ found asleep among plants by cops

Police showed up at a Coventry house and found their way upstairs blocked by a metal door protecting access to a large cannabis factory.

But they were able to access it and open it because the Albanian “gardener” Leonard Nikolli had fallen asleep among the plants without locking the door.

And at Warwick Crown Court, Nikolli, 22, homeless, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to producing cannabis.

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Prosecutor David Jackson said that on the afternoon of October 13, police executed a search warrant at a house in Holbrook Lane, Holbrooks, Coventry.

“On the staircase, there was a metal door welded in place, but the officers were able to reach it and unlock it to get upstairs.

“They found the accused asleep in his bed in the front bedroom, and in that room were also two bags of cannabis, one weighing just under two kilograms and the other weighing 320 grams.”

In the bedrooms, there were also a total of 146 cannabis plants grown in compost, and the electric meter had been bypassed.

When questioned, Nikolli said he had arrived in the country from Albania three months earlier in the back of a truck, believing there was going to be construction work.


He had agreed to borrow £ 25,000 to be brought here, and was told he had to repay a total of £ 27,000.

Nikolli said he was staying in London, but days before his arrest received a call from someone in France telling him to go to Coventry to work there in order to pay off the debt faster.

He said he was taken to the address where he was visited by a man he did not know who told him he had to work there for a week or else bad things would happen. his family.

“He said he told the man he didn’t want to work there, but was afraid to leave even though he had the keys to the property.

“He said he was supposed to keep the door locked, but continued to fall asleep while he worked,” Mr. Jackson said.

Nikolli added that the bags of cannabis were dropped off by the same man and was told to take them inside, which he did, but then fell asleep.

Michael McAlinden, defending, said: “It’s a familiar story. He came here from poverty and was promised he would be given construction work in this country.

“He is then told he has to work to pay off the debt, and he says he has two options: run away or do this.”

“The heavily fortified gate had been left unlocked, and the police were able to simply walk through and unlock it, and they found the hapless Mr. Nikolli asleep during the day.”

Single operator

Imprisoning Nikolli, Judge Peter Cooke told him: “You were the only agent there, from which I have to deduce a full awareness of the scale of the operation in the house.

“You were doing what you were doing with the expectation of a significant financial advantage, in the form of your loan being repaid by those who trafficked you in the UK. It was a considerable amount of money.

“The account you gave in the bagged cannabis interview indicates that you have been given an additional role as custodian of a quantity of ready-for-sale cannabis, in addition to just tending to the plants.

“The most likely true explanation is that it had been grown in this house and packaged for sale, but there were undoubtedly operating circumstances in your situation.”

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