An Albanian man who was trafficked to the UK to work on a cannabis farm has thanked the judge for sentencing him to prison for 11 months.
Eridjon Plaku was arrested following a raid on a terraced house in Northampton, UK in 2020. He was the only person found on the premises alongside 325 cannabis plants which is equivalent to 40kg or GBP 250,000 of product. When police raided the property, Plaku fled, scaling a nearby building and running down the length of the streets rooftop until authorities talked him down and arrested him.
He told the court that he had paid GBP 15,000 to be trafficked into the UK “in search of a better life’. He had worked as a qualified building materials inspector in Albania prior to his departure.
Upon arriving in the UK, the thought he would be working as a ‘gardener’ and didn’t know there would be any illegal work expected of him. He said he was ordered to work on the cannabis farm under threats of harm to himself and his family.
His barrister Richard Elliot told the court; “he just wants to go home your honour”.
Upon receiving the sentence, Plaku spoke through a translator and said: “Thank you, I am very very happy with today’s sentence.”
While cases of drug cultivation and trafficking are decreasing in Albania, this is due to criminals exporting their operations to the UK and EU Member States. There are also many cases where people are trafficked and forced to work in such factories under duress and to repay ‘debts’