Powys: Welshpool cannabis factory man's sentencing adjourned
A man convicted of growing a cannabis farm worth around £500,000 that was discovered inside the former County Times offices in Welshpool must wait another week before he is sentenced.
Dino Marku, who speaks limited English, pleaded guilty last month to producing the Class B drug after police seized 246 plants from the empty property next door to Greggs bakery on January 11.
Caernarfon Crown Court was told on Thursday, February 1, that Mold Magistrates’ Court had not told staff that an Albanian translator was needed to be present for the sentencing hearing.
The 39-year-old appeared via video link from HMP Berwyn, near Wrexham, alongside an Albanian-speaking prisoner who had volunteered to help him understand what the judge was about to tell him.
When the prosecution barrister highlighted to the court that the prisoner was not an accredited interpreter, the case for sentencing was adjourned.
The court heard that Marku’s barrister Alexa Carrier was also unable to talk with him before the sentencing hearing because the prisoner was not an official translator.
His Honour Judge Huw Rees told Ms Carrier: “You’ve taken the right approach. That is entirely in conjunction with your professional position.”
Speaking to the prisoner, the judge said: "I understand your good motives but I’m afraid the case cannot carry on without an official interpreter."
Marku, of no fixed abode, was told that he will be sentenced for the offence on Thursday, February 8.
The Albanian national was charged after police discovered the “sophisticated” set-up for cannabis cultivating in the empty property which had its electricity supply diverted to grow hundreds of plants.
Dyfed-Powys Police said its officers are investigating whether the ex-County Times building haul was linked to a cannabis farm inside the former HSBC building in Broad Street on January 8.
Police said the plants were seized from the old bank building, which closed as a branch of HSBC in September 2021, and was left in a dangerous condition and Scottish Power had been called to assist.