Albanian migrants working on cannabis farms just days after arriving in the UK

An Albanian migrant working in a cannabis farm speaks anonymously to Albanian TV
An Albanian migrant working in a cannabis farm speaks anonymously to Albanian TV

Albanian migrants are walking out of hotels to work on cannabis farms within three days of arriving in the UK across the Channel, an investigation has revealed.

The young men describe being released from detention into hotels where they are recruited by Albanian crime gangs to cultivate cannabis in farms set up in empty houses and industrial buildings across England and Wales.

Their confessions, screened on Albanian TV, paint a picture of young men in their 20s working to clear debts of £5,000 after paying Kurdish people smugglers for cross-Channel journeys of up to 40 hours in a dinghy.

One, working in a “farm” in London, said he spent seven days in “mountains” in France as three Channel attempts were thwarted by police who punctured the boats each time. On the fourth attempt, he was rescued by the UK coastguard when his packed dinghy ran out of petrol after 11 hours and started drifting mid Channel.

“We were kept for three days in a detention centre then transferred to a hotel. I managed to talk with my relative who came and took me from the hotel. I am working in a cannabis house to pay the money I borrowed to pay for the journey on the boat,” he told Ervin Koci, the Albanian TV journalist who interviewed them.

Albanians now account for 60 per cent of migrants crossing the Channel, with as many as 7,000 thought to have arrived in small boats so far this year. Most are being housed in hotels where more than 35,000 asylum seekers are living at a cost to taxpayers of £4 million a day.

The interviews, revealed on Sunday, confirm they are being recruited into the drugs trade. The Albanians dominate the cocaine market in the south of England and have displaced the Vietnamese as the biggest producers of domestically-sourced cannabis.

It follows warnings last week by the Border Force union that the surge in criminal migrants poses a “significant risk” to national security, as traditional asylum seekers have been replaced by “young fit males” with suspected links to organised crime.

The young men describe being released from detention into hotels where they are recruited by Albanian crime gangs
The young men describe being released from detention into hotels where they are recruited by Albanian crime gangs

One of the Albanian youths said the cannabis farm job was “dangerous” with the twin threats of arrest in police raids or attacks by other English crime gangs seeking to steal the cannabis.

“They break into the house to rob you and take all the work you have done for many weeks. They beat you up. They leave you paralysed. Robbers throw acid into your eyes. Perhaps you can face death,” he said.

Another young man, who borrowed 5,000 euros (£4,500) to cross the Channel, said he also had been picked up by his relatives after spending nearly three days in detention and was now working in the same cannabis farm.

“We stay 24 hours locked in this house. We put water in the plants. When the temperature is high, we switch off the lights. When it’s cold, we put up the temperature. These plants take 55 to 60 days to grow,” he said.

He had to spend 15 days in France waiting for a boat, which almost sank. “When we entered UK waters, the weather went mad and we faced big waves. Water entered the boat and that was a big danger of drowning,” he said.

Published by anthonyhayble

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