An Albanian who came to the UK to meet a girl he had contacted over the internet ended up as the gardener in a Hertford cannabis factory.

The 20-year-old  was found living in a four-bedroom detached house in The Elms when the police carried out a raid last month.

Prosecutor Daniel Siong told St Albans crown court Tuesday 21st cannabis plants were seized. All of the rooms, except the defendant’s  bedroom, were being used to grow the plants. The windows, doors and walls had been insulated. The electricity meter was bypassed and a heating, lighting, watering and ventilation system had been set up.

He pleaded guilty to being concerned in cultivating cannabis when he appeared before West Herts Magistrates on 27 February. He was committed to the crown court for sentence.

Sean Smith, defending, said his client was a man of “good character” who had travelled to the UK to meet a girl he had been communicating with over the internet.

He went on: “He had no means of supporting himself and was taken on as a “gardener” at the Elms. He had been there for a week. He is only 20 years old and made a terrible mistake.”

Judge John Plumstead sentenced him to 16 months saying that he would be deported half way through his sentence. The judge told him: “Those who run commercial cannabis factories go to prison.” He said he gave him credit for his plea and mitigation.