Seven people have been convicted of producing nearly half-a-million pounds worth of cannabis above a Worksop takeaway – but the drug “masterminds” are still at large.
Police chiefs say the drugs den, in a flat on Victoria Square, contained 72 plants – with a potential drug street value of £463,000 – and is one of the biggest ever finds in Nottinghamshire.
And officers have also now issued a stark warning to any other drug gangs operating in the area.
PC Julie Armstrong, lead investigator on the case, said: “We believe they were brought in to just crop it on the day of the warrant.
“We don’t think they were the masterminds behind it. They are probably still out there.”
Officers caught the gang in the act on the morning of March 30, 2015, after a raid.
PC Armstrong said: “The plants were easily five or six feet tall. They were good, well established plants.
“I don’t think any of us expected the yield to be quite so massive.
“We believe through investigation that it was probably the first yield, the first time they were cropping it.”
The seven people convicted, who were born in Albania, with some of them part of the same family, were mostly from the Birmingham area, with one from South Yorkshire.
Three of the seven also face deportation after being found to be in the country illegally.
PC Armstrong said “The convictions highlight that even if you just agree to look after drugs for somebody, you are potentially facing quite a harsh prison sentence.”
Inspector Neil Bellamy, of the Worksop police team, said: “Nottinghamshire Police officers in Bassetlaw always investigate offences of this nature when we receive information from the public and I encourage anyone with knowledge of any cannabis grow to contact the police.”
The full list of sentences are:
Besmir Hysa, aged 19, no fixed abode – eight months’ imprisonment and recommendation for deportation.
Iouri Valter, 44, of Henry Moore Court, Barnsley - eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay court costs of £500.
Jentom Hysa, 26, of no fixed abode – eight months’ imprisonment and recommendation for deportation.
Klintom Hysa, 20, of no fixed abode – eight months’ imprisonment and recommendation for deportation.
Florin Hysa, 29, of Perry Common Road, Birmingham – four months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Selman Hysa, 34, of Cemetery Road, Pontefract, West Yorkshire – eight months’ jail, suspended for 18 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay court costs of £50.
A juvenile male, who cannot be named, was dealt with in the Youth Court in July.