Men jailed for £2.1m Wildings cannabis farm

Two men who admitted growing more than 3,000 cannabis plants in a disused city centre department store have both received sentences of two years in prison.

Adrian Daja and Andi Shabani, both 28 and from Newport, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday 10 January where they pled guilty to producing a controlled Class B drug.

The cannabis cultivation was discovered in the former Wildings department store on Tuesday 10 October and was established across multiple levels of the building.

Following reports of suspicious activity in the empty building, officers carried out a warrant and found close to 3,200 cannabis plants at the property with an estimated street value of 2.1 million; all were later destroyed.

PC Mathew Tucker, the officer in the case said: “Daja and Shabani were operating as part of an organised crime gang as gardeners maintaining the plants.

“While producing cannabis may not seem like a serious offence, it can often be linked to sophisticated organised crime groups.

“Every cannabis factory we dismantle helps disrupt these operations, the plants are stopped from being sold into our communities and the profits are prevented from going on to fund other crime.

“In the last few months, we’ve dismantled several cannabis factories in Newport where these serious organised crime groups have taken advantage of disused commercial properties.

“We hope that these sentences serve as a reminder to those tempted to engage in such criminality that we will continue to target anyone involved in drug supply.

“If you have information or concerns about drug supply in your area, then please get in touch with us.

“As this case shows, information from the community is vital to us bringing people before the courts and to protect our communities from drugs and its associated criminality.”

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