PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:58 14 March 2020
A suburban bungalow had its windows blacked out to hide a gang of criminals who were using it to grow and produce cannabis, a court heard.
A tip-off from the public to police blew the gang’s cover, as officers descended on the property at Rayns Close in Sprowston.
They arrived to find the blacked-out windows and a strong smell of cannabis, Norwich Crown Court heard.
Chris Youell, prosecuting on Friday, said police raided the address and three men were arrested at the scene. He said that three rooms at the small bungalow were being used for the commercial cannabis growing operation and 95 plants were found.
They were in various stages of development, including some mature five foot plants.
Mr Youell said it was a professional set-up with lighting and equipment and the electricity supply had also been bypassed.
He said that Laimas Simkunas, 44, admitted he had been living at the address and acting as gardener tending to the plants.
The two other men arrested – Sarunas Janiukstis, 52, and Rytis Ivanauskas, 40 – admitted their involvement as they had made deliveries of equipment to the address.
Simkunas, Ivanauskas and Janiukstis, who had the help of a Lithuanian interpreter in court, all admitted being involved in the production of cannabis on October 29 last year, and were jailed for 20 months.
Sentencing them, Recorder Karim Khalil said in his view they each had played an equal role in the commercial operation.
Andrew Oliver, for Simkunas, who appeared over a video link from Norwich Prison, said that he had only come to this country from Lithuania on a mini-bus three months before his arrest.
Mr Oliver said: ‘He knows he will be deported once his sentence is finished.’
He said he planned to return to Lithuania and make a fresh start.
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Andrew Thompson, for Ivanauskas, said he played a limited role and had only made four journeys to Norwich to deliver supplies. ‘He was acting under direction delivering supplies.’
He said he only went to the address on the one occasion when he was arrested.
David Stewart, for Janiukstis, said that he was also acting as a delivery driver for items which had been ordered.