An Albanian cannabis farmer has been locked up after he was arrested for a second time when a drone captured a large heat source coming from the roof of a terraced house.

Oresti Shpata was originally arrested in Lancashire before coming across country and ending up in Middlesbrough town centre where he was again caught tending a cannabis farm.

The 32-year-old was caught in March 2022 when police raided a property in Accrington when his attempt to flee police by running along the roof of a row of houses ended when he was found in nearby allotments.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court how Shpata was arrested in Middlesbrough when police spotted a suspicious heat source at the property whilst using a drone.

He said: “They attended the address due to drone footage showing a large heat source coming from the property’s roof leading to suspicions that it was the location of a cannabis farm.

“Entry was forced and the defendant approached the officers with his hands up. They heard the noise of fans and noticed the smell of cannabis coming from upstairs.

“Two rooms were found to contain cannabis grows containing 104 plants with a value of between £30,000 and £9,000.”

The court heard how the well-established cannabis farms in Accrington contained 148 plants growing in commercial set-up.

Mr Abrahams added: “There’s no evidence to suggest that he is anything other than a cannabis farmer.”

The court heard how both cannabis farms were professionally set-up and producing commercial scale amounts of the Class B drug.

Oresti ShpataOresti Shpata (Image: Cleveland Police)

Shpata, of Outram Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to two charges of production of a controlled drug namely cannabis.

Nicci Horton, mitigating, said her client had been forced to work in the cannabis farms to repay the £22,000 debt he accrued entering the country illegally.

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She added: “He was brought in a white van, whilst under pressure to repay the debt at a faster rate, to Middlesbrough.

“The cannabis farms were both set up and ready to go upon his arrival.”

Judge Timothy Stead jailed the Albanian national for a total of 16 months and warned him he would be returned to his homeland when he is released.

He added: “The quantities of plants in each house were substantial. Commercial quantities were involved in both cases but your role was the least role because of pressure or threat upon you.”