Gang who grew hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of cannabis at homes in Kirkby and Mansfield jailed for 22 years

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A GANG involved in growing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of cannabis across four counties, including at houses in Kirkby and Mansfield, has been jailed for 22 years.

The organised crime group grew more than 1,000 cannabis plants at addresses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, West Mercia and the West Midlands.

On Friday, five people were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court for their part in the racket.

Thi Cuc Le (43) was jailed for five years and four months; Hong Lam (47) was sentenced to five years; Kirandeep Virk received an 18-month sentence and Kieu Oanh Le (32) and Hoai Nguyen (43) were both jailed for 21 months after admitting conspiracy to produce cannabis at an earlier hearing.

Derbyshire Constabulary launched Operation Trevino after the discovery of a cannabis factory in a house on Victoria Street, South Normanton.

It came to light on 15th November last year when the owner of the house contacted police after he was refused entry by the tenants and became suspicious.

Police found more than 400 cannabis plants at the house and a 35-year-old Vietnamese man, Tuan Ho, who was growing the plants was arrested and charged with production of cannabis.

Ho admitted the offence and was jailed for 27 months at an earlier hearing at Derby Crown Court.

While officers were guarding the house on the night of the raid they noticed a suspicious car which drove past several times.

Officers stopped the car and found £8,000 in cash, mobile phones and SIM cards. They found calls between two of the people in the car and Tuan Ho.

The four people in the car, Thi Cuc Le and Hong Lam of Wednesbury, West Midlands and Kieu Oanh Le and Hoai Nguyen from Birmingham, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis.

The owner of the house in South Normanton also owned properties in Mansfield and Kirkby and had employed a letting agent, Kirandeep Virk, to source his tenants.

Unbeknown to the property owner, Virk had been working with Thi Cuc Le and Hong Lam to find tenants who would grow cannabis.

Virk, of Stanfell Road, Leicester, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis.

Officers from Nottinghamshire Police carried out warrants at the addresses rented out by Virk on Sommersall Street, Mansfield and Kirkland Close, Kirkby on 16th November last year.

They found 196 cannabis plants at Sommersall Street and a 17-year-old Vietnamese male was found hiding in the loft. The teenager was arrested and charged with production of cannabis. He was jailed for 30 months at an earlier hearing after pleading guilty.