TWO MEN have been sentenced to prison after a cannabis plantation was discovered in Finchampstead, following a police investigation.
On Friday, September 24, at Reading Crown Court, Marjan Prendi, 27, and Ilir Biba, 38, were each sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for drug offences.
The Albanian nationals of no fixed abode pleaded guilty to one count of producing a class B drug at a hearing in the same court, in July.
Investigating officer PC James Greehy, based at Loddon Valley police station, said the money from the plantation was being put “into the hands of organised crime groups”.
The investigation followed a call from a resident in October 2020, at approximately 12.30am, about a suspicious vehicle in Hogwood Industrial Estate.
When officers arrived, they found the vehicle empty and searched the area.
They discovered a locked business unit and could hear noises inside, as well as a “distinctive” smell.
Upon entering, officers found Mr Prendi and Mr Biba alongside a “substantial amount” of cannabis plants. The duo were arrested and charged on October 18.
In custody, the pair claimed to be victims of modern slavery, but this was later proven untrue through police investigation, leading to them pleading guilty to offences before trial.
PC Greehy said: “This was a well-organised and sophisticated cannabis plantation set up for commercial gain.
“From the crops seized, the potential turnover of the plantation was estimated to be in the region of £2 million.
“Throughout the investigation, both Mr Prendi and Mr Biba attempted to distance their involvement by claiming they were being forced to work there but that they didn’t know by whom, and I am glad the judge was able to see through these false claims.”