Three men who transformed a large commercial site in Ramsgate to grow drugs have been jailed.

Kent Police carried out a warrant at the disused property in School Lane on the morning of Thursday 1 June 2023 only to discover that the address had been fully converted into a dedicated cannabis cultivation site. As police entered the building, three men were found trying to escape through the back door but were stopped by officers.

Shkelzen Vata, Fabio Maloku and Zylfi Hata, all of no fixed address, were all arrested and taken into custody.

An examination of the building originally used as three floors of offices, a basement and a loft, found that it had entirely been converted for the purpose of growing and preparing cannabis, other than four rooms which were instead used as makeshift living quarters.

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Some of the younger plants found

In excess of 1,000 plants were found in different stages of growth, from young growing plants, to mature plants which had been cut to dry out. Rooms were filled with fans, heaters, lights and other equipment needed for the cultivation. A total of 291 lamps were found at the property which were being powered by an electricity supply which had been tampered with and bypassed.

Following an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, the three offenders were charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

Detectives found that the plants would have been capable of producing cannabis to the value of between £105,000 to £540,000.


At Canterbury Crown Court they admitted the charges and were sentenced on Thursday 7 September. The claims by 35-year-old Hata and 22-year-old Maloku that they were recruited under pressure or had been threatened by masked men to work at the cultivation were not accepted by the judge and they were jailed for two years and one month each.

Vata, 21, who had admitted responsibility at the earliest opportunity, received a 22-month custodial sentence.

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Cannabis plants drying

Investigating officer DC Mark Simcox said: ‘A cultivation site such as the one found in Ramsgate would have produced a lot of Class B drugs, which would be used to fuel further criminality.
‘By working to find and dismantle such cultivations, we disrupt organised crime, leave them out of pocket and send a clear message that anyone found working at cultivations risks going to prison.’

By Ed

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