AN ILLEGAL immigrant has been jailed for producing cann- abis in a ‘sophisticated oper-ation’ at a Blackburn house.

A court heard that every room in the property, in Shear Brow, was being used to grow the class B drug. It would have had a street value of £466,000.

Vietnamese national Tam Nguyen, 19, came into the UK illegally around two years earlier. After working in restaurants in the Mid-lands, he moved to Black-burn where he found himself with nowhere to live, Pres-ton Crown Court was told.

Mark Stuart, defending, said his client, of no fixed address, had been offered the house in Shear Brow, but was unaware he would have to be involved in grow-ing cannabis. But the judge heard that when officers raid- ed the house, after a tip off, they found Nguyen inside.

The electricity had been rerouted and there was a ‘full-scale’ cannabis produc- tion operation, with plants at three stages of growth.

Nguyen pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

Paul Cummings, prosec-uting, said: “The crown conceeds that Nguyen is not the brains behind the oper-ation. He was clearly placed there for a purpose.”

Judge Graham Knowles jailed Nguyen for 32 months, and warned him the Home Office would be in touch.

He told Nguyen: “The func- tion was a critical one. It served to keep the more ser-ious criminals in the back-ground, free from detection, and ready to start up again elsewhere with somebody else like you to do what you did.”

“You are illegally in the UK. You found yourself with- out accommodation. You were in it, therefore, for the reward, albeit your own rew- ard was very much less than that planned by those who ran the operation.”