A LANDLORD has described the prison term handed to a man caught operating a cannabis factory in his property as “a joke”.
Illegal Chinese immigrant Langfang Wei, 51, faces deportation to China after being jailed for 20 months for being concerned in the production of cannabis.
Police discovered him in the four- bedroom detached house on Meadows Lane, Saughall on June 15 surrounded by 358 cannabis plants, blacked out windows, hydroponic lighting and a bypassed electricity supply.
Stunned landlord Carl Jones, who rented the property to another man in February, had alerted police after finding the garden overgrown and the locks changed.
After the hearing on Monday, he branded the sentence “a joke” and called for Wei to be sent to a “less lenient” jail in China.
“He’ll only serve half his sentence – 10 months is a joke. He’ll get food, a nice comfy cell, a telly, then deported,” said Carl.
“Maybe he should serve his time in China where they’re not so lenient. Let his own country pay to incarcerate him.”
Prosecutor Anna Pope told Chester Crown Court that Wei, whose six- month business visa expired in 2003, had been tending the plants for two to three weeks.
Gareth Roberts, defending, said Wei came to the UK in 2002 to earn money to send back to his family in China who had been struggling after the factory the former soldier worked in closed.
Mr Roberts said: “In May, he answered an ad for labouring for £150 a week. He applied for and was given that job and brought up to Chester.
“He is clearly low down in the chain – he is a gardener.
“He made very little money for his place in this enterprise.”
His Honour Judge David Hale, sentencing, ordered police to give Carl the £295 found in Wei’s underwear.
While thanking the judge, Carl responded: “Compared to the damage that’s been caused, £295 is a drop in the ocean.”
He is still negotiating with insurers to see if he is covered for £10,000 worth of devastation to his house before starting any refurbishment of the property.
Judge Hale told Wei: “It must have been obvious to you that this was an illegal drugs operation yet you went on to help. Cannabis factories such as this are a growing and considerable problem.”
He sentenced Wei to 20 months imprisonment, recommending he be deported on release. He ordered the destruction of the cannabis and equipment.