Audacious bid to run cannabis farm next to Buckingham Palace goes up in smoke

Paul Wright
Buckingham Palace

Three men who ran a huge cannabis farm in a central London mansion just yards from Buckingham Palace have been jailed for six months.

Police raided the £15m (€17.5m) Grosvenor Gardens property – which overlooks the Queen's London residence – in February, seizing 600 cannabis plants.

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In a bizarre twist, an unidentified man was then caught on camera shortly after the raid attempting to flee with one of the cannabis evidence bags as police loaded them into a van.

Filmed by a group of squatters occupying the building opposite, the man dropped the bag as he was chased by officers. He fled and was never caught.

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But three men involved in the cannabis growing operation were caught and charged. They all pleaded guilty to drug charges.

Jetmir Myrtaj, 29, appeared at Southwark Crown Court via video-link from prison where he spoke through an Albanian translator.

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On Thursday (6 April), he was sentenced to six months in prison for growing cannabis and was warned by the judge that he faces deportation.

His co-defendants – Edriol Shyti, 29, and Hajri Cjapi, 26 – appeared at the same court on Monday where they were also jailed for six months for the same offence. They will likely also face deportation, the judge said.

Judge Joanna Korner QC told the court the trio were "the gardeners for the cannabis found in Grosvenor Gardens"..

She said it was not possible to say which of the three defendants was "in charge".

"Mr Myrtaj, you pleaded guilty to a serious offence of growing cannabis," she said during Thursday's hearing.

"The only mitigation on your behalf is that you ... pleaded guilty, but, as I said to your two co-defendants, you will undoubtedly be deported once you have served your sentence and accordingly I have allowed a larger discount than your plea merits.

"Had you contested the matter, your sentence would have been one of 12 months but because you will be deported I am reducing it to ... six months in prison."

Judge Korner added: "In practice I believe the Home Office will deport you and you co-defendants once you have served your sentence."

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