Three men have been jailed after turning a detached house in Radlett into a cannabis factory.
Rooms upstairs and downstairs at the property were used to grow the plants which, if harvested, would have produced cannabis with a street value running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Special lighting, fans and irrigation systems were installed throughout the property for the production of the plants.
But the operation was thwarted in April this year when Hertfordshire police raided the property and found three men present.
Today (Tuesday, September 15) the three, Andi Hasko, 32, his cousin Maringen Hasko (pictured left), 25, and Redion Balla (pictured right), 26, were each jailed for three years after admitting a charge of producing a controlled drug of class B.
All three had been living at the property, Spylaw House in Newlands Avenue, when police raided it on the morning of April 30.
Prosecutor, Miss Unyimo Davies, said officers could smell cannabis as they approached the house, with the tell-tale fumes coming out of a vent.
After smashing down the door, they found the three men inside the house where the smell of cannabis was even stronger.
In all, 678 plants were found in different rooms at various stages of growth.
More than £1,500 in cash was recovered by the police.
Barristers for all three men claimed their clients were merely gardeners recruited to tend the plants by those higher up in the chain of command.
Balla was said to have got involved to pay back £10,000 to the traffickers who had bought him to the UK.
Andi Hasko was also said to have been in debt to traffickers and was working in the house to repay them.
Passing sentence on the three, Recorder Tim Clarke told them: “It was an extensive commercial cannabis factory. It was a professional commercial growing operation and not what one would be left to find in a large detached property in Radlett.”
He said he didn’t accept their claims that they played a lesser role in the operation and were just there as gardeners.
“In my view all three of you were motivated by financial advantage,” he said.
Recorder Clarke said it was possible some of them had played a leading role in the operation.