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Vietnamese asylum seeker sentenced for Hook Rise South cannabis farm
A Vietnamese asylum seeker has been jailed after admitting farming cannabis in Hook.
Tuan Nguyen, 22, was arrested last month after police raided a house in Hook Rise South, and found 51 young cannabis plants.
Kingston Crown Court heard today that Nguyen, who arrived in Britain in the back of a van year ago, was persuaded to look after the plants by someone he met in a London marketplace.
Prosecutor David Baird described the raid.
He said: “When the officers arrived at the premises they knocked on the door and were just about to knock it down when they heard a male inside shouting, ‘Stop!’”
Nguyen, the only person in the house, opened the door for them, he said.
Mr Baird added: “It seemed that downstairs there were a number of boxes filled with fertiliser, but the main find was upstairs.
“When the officer initially went up he thought there would be around 25 to 30 small cannabis plants.
“In one of the rooms there was a quantity of cannabis on the floor which seemed to be drying out.”
Defending Nguyen, Lugard Hurlock said: “He has got no family. He has been here a year. He didn’t have a job.
“He had difficulties in relation to his home country, in relation to an allegation of theft.
“He is making an application for asylum.”
Of the people who drafted in Nguyen to look after the plants, Mr Hurlock said: “They gave him food, they gave him accommodation. There was talk of some money at the end of it.
“He knew what he was doing was wrong.”
Judge Nicholas Jones told Nguyen: “You have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. You knew what you were doing, being involved in cultivating those cannabis plants illegally.”
Nguyen was handed an eight-month prison sentence, and ordered to pay a £100 surcharge.
Judge Jones added: “You won’t serve eight months in custody, you will serve no more than half that.”