Inside former pharmacy where huge £646k weed factory uncovered as third man jailed


A third man has been jailed for his role in running a huge cannabis factory inside a former chemists in Stoke-on-Trent.

Albanian Rogert Grembi, 31, was inside the old Lloyds Pharmacy in Stoke Road, Shelton, when police forced entry.

Officers discovered 2,647 plants in 11 rooms including the loft space.

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In total they were worth approximately £646,000 if sold at street level in one gram deals.

Now Grembi has been jailed for three years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

He is likely to be deported after serving half the sentence.

Prosecutor Thomas Griffiths said police attended the former Lloyds Pharmacy in Stoke Road, Shelton, at 10.30am on March 19 after receiving reports it was being used for the production of cannabis.



Some of the cannabis plants seized in Shelton
Some of the cannabis plants seized in Shelton

Mr Griffiths said: “They attempted to knock on the door. There was no response but there was a clear smell of cannabis.

“The police forced entry into the premises and the defendant immediately gave himself up to the police. One of his co-defendants fled but was detained after a short foot chase. Another was found inside hiding.

“Cannabis plants were found in 11 rooms including two areas of loft space.

“In total there were 2,647 cannabis plants worth approximately £646,000 if sold at street level in one gram deals.”

Grembi, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

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Patrick Maggs, mitigating, the defendant came to this country to work in the construction industry. He said: “He came to the UK in expectation of working in the construction industry to pay for an eye operation for his daughter. On arrival, he was not given what he expected and was placed in a cannabis factory for a modest period of time.

“He just wants to go home.”

Judge Paul Glenn said: “You came to the UK unlawfully and that meant that you could not work legally.

“You are an Albanian national, as were your two accused. You have no previous convictions.



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“You were involved in the production of cannabis on a significant scale at a disused pharmacy in Shelton. 2,647 plants were found at various stages of growth. It was a professional set up. The electricity supply had been bypassed and it was obviously an ongoing operation.

“You effectively surrendered yourself as soon as the police forced entry.

“This was a large-scale commercial venture with a particularly high yield and value.

“This sort of offending is prevalent locally and nationally and significant money is being made by organised crime groups from the supply of cannabis.

“You expected to make significant financial advantage and you were plainly aware of the scale of the operation.”

The judge added: “It may be the sentence triggers automatic deportation.”

He ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the cannabis and the growing equipment.

The other two men were sentenced in July. Zari Matmuja, aged 31, was jailed for three years and Fluturim Musallaj, aged 27, received a 38 month sentence.

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