Belfast Telegraph

Chinese trio jailed after fire brigade finds cannabis factory

By John Cassidy

Three Chinese nationals have been sentenced for a total of six-and-a-half years for running "substantial" cannabis cultivation factories in Belfast.

Li Guang Liu (49), of Hughenden Avenue, yesterday pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to a total of six charges including cultivation of cannabis plants, possession of the drugs with intent to supply and dishonestly using electricity. Yan Fang Cao (30), also of Hughenden Avenue, and Liu Yiyan, of India Street Belfast, both pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis.

Prosecution lawyer Kate McKay said that the fire brigade was called to a property at Greenville Road, Belfast, on April 29 following reports of a gas leak.

"When they arrived they discovered a cannabis factory with 117 plants," the court was told.

Ms McKay said that in a follow-up operations officers found 675 plants in a house at Hughenden Avenue.

The court heard that all three defendants will be deported to China after finishing their sentences. Sentencing Guang Liu to two years and six months, Judge David McFarland said he had an "organisational role".

Cao and Yiyan each received a sentence of two years.

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