He found a route to the UK on TikTok, then some men in a café told him he could make serious money

A cannabis farmer expecting to make serious money on a quiet residential street in Lancashire had travelled to the UK after finding a route on TikTok, a court heard today (April 22)

Orgit Arapi used his Albanian passport passport to get to the Republic of Ireland legally before moving to Scotland and down to England. He then met some fellow Albanian men in a café in Manchester.

They put him in the house in Lostock Hall and instructed him to look after the grow of more than 300 plants. But the 20-year-old barely lasted a month before neighbours got wise.


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Police were alerted after those living on Highfield Grove said there were people arriving late at night, and a strong smell of cannabis was also reported to regularly drift from the property.

When officers arrived, at 11.50pm on March 23, 2024, Arapi man tried to flee, but was caught.

Inside the detached house were 385 cannabis plants, with lighting and equipment across three rooms. There was also a dismantled grow in the loft, Preston Crown Court heard.

Arapi was arrested and admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis. He said he had travelled to the UK by a route he saw on on the social media platform. He said. He had been there around a month when the property was raided.

Orgit Arapi
Orgit Arapi travelled from Albania to the UK -Credit:Lancs Police

Speaking through an interpreter today (April 22), he told Preston Crown Court he had tried to find work but struggled as he was in the UK illegally.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, said Arapi had an expectation of 'significant financial gain.' He said the drugs had an estimated yield of up to £144,000 if sold in bulk or up to £288,000 if sold as street level deals.

"There had been concern about suspicious activity and a smell of cannabis from the property", he said. "The defendant was said by neighbours to be the occupier who left in the morning and returned in the evening."

Judge Altham took into account Arapi's young age but said the offence was so serious it could only be met with an immediate custodial sentence. He sentenced him to two and a half years in a young offenders institute.