AN illegal immigrant who told police he was smuggled into the country by human traffickers was jailed after being caught working at a cannabis factory.

Hakik Lala will be deported when he finishes his sentence after he pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at a house on Newport’s Chepstow Road.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how police were tipped off that people were being forced to work as slaves in the property.

Judge Richard Williams was told that officers surrounded the building on Friday, September 7 and caught Lala after he tried to escape through a window.

Police found a large cannabis farm inside where 250 plants were being grown in different rooms.

The 46-year-old defendant, who was assisted by an interpreter in Albanian throughout the proceedings, told detectives he had only entered the UK illegally around a month and a half before.

Lala, who was of no fixed abode, said he had paid £10,000 to get into the country on the back of a lorry from Belgium with the intention of working as a bricklayer.

When he arrived he said he was put up in a hotel for two days and that his passport was taken from him and not returned.

The defendant told police he was then taken to Chepstow Road and ordered to remain there until his £10,000 debt was paid off.

It was heard in mitigation that Lala had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of a quantity of cannabis, a controlled drug of class B.

Judge Williams jailed him for six months.