Pair admit running town centre cannabis factory

Cannabis farm on Wallgate
Cannabis farm on Wallgate

TWO men have admitted running a massive secret cannabis factory in Wigan town centre.

Ledian Kola, 39, and Afrim Hoxha, 45, appeared before Wigan and Leigh magistrates yesterday having been charged with being concerned in the illegal production of the drug.

The pair, both of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the charge and were remanded in custody pending an appearance before a Liverpool Crown Court judge on May 28.

They were arrested after armed police stormed rooms above shops on Wallgate during Tuesday morning’s rush hour.

Upwards of 3,000 cannabis plants were found in various stages of growth in the rooms, along with a considerable amount of hydroponic equipment including heat lamps.

The plants and equipment were driven away on large lorries for forensic examination.

Police estimated that the street value of class B drug would be upwards of £1.5m.

Locals say they had noticed unusual smells wafting around the Clarence Yard, Wallgate and Church Gardens area but the odour was initially put down to the hops being used in the nearby Allgates Brewery.

But all became clear soon after 9am on Tuesday when police made their extraordinary find.

Three men have been arrested and charged so far.

Also appearing alongside Kola and Hoxha was 27-year-old Vullnet Cjapi who pleaded not guilty to the charge of producing cannabis.

He was remanded in custody pending a first appearance at Liverpool Crown Court on May 20.