Highlands & Islands

Smuggled man ran cannabis farm near Nairn

Hai Van Vo
Image caption Hai Van Vo was found by police hiding in the loft of a cottage

A 22-year-old man who was smuggled into the UK from Vietnam in a shipping container has been jailed for running a cannabis farm in the Highlands.

Hai Van Vo grew cannabis plants with the potential to produce almost £400,000-worth of drugs a year in a cottage at Gollanfield, near Nairn.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that Vo had lived a "Spartan existence" and had no bed and little food.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson jailed him for 27 months.

Vo, who admitted running the cannabis farm, will be deported when he is released from prison, the court heard.

Fiscal depute Ian Smith told the court that police uncovered the farm with 300 cannabis plants in July.

'Minor link'

Police had to break their way into the property after being tipped off that a strong smell of cannabis was coming from a ventilation pipe at the cottage.

Mr Smith said: "Several rooms were full of plants and pots and the enterprise had been active for at least four months.

"The plants take approximately three to four months to reach maturity.

"The set-up represented a considerable investment to produce cannabis on a large scale with the entire cottage converted for the purpose. Mr Vo only had a small area to live in and he was found hiding in the loft."

Defence agent Willie Young said Vo had had little contact with the outside world, slept on a door because he had no bed and worked to instructions given to him by others.

He said: "It was a Spartan existence.

"There were individuals whom he did not know who were more criminally sophisticated and he was a minor link in the chain of supply."

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