TRAVELLING criminals were warned Cumbria is no “easy target” after two illegal immigrants were jailed for “industrial scale” cannabis production.

Public suspicions led police to an enclosed, window-less unit at Rosehill in the city on March 16.

As detectives examined the outside, shutters rolled up and Albanian nationals Elidon Hajdarmataj, 24, and 26-year-old Rafael Hysaj strolled out.

It emerged the pair were transported from London to cultivate a massive cannabis factory inside the unit comprising 330 plants. The yield of these, Carlisle Crown Court heard, was potentially worth almost £250,000.

One detective who also found sophisticated growing equipment valued at thousands of pounds described it as “the most professional set-up he had seen in all his years of policing”.

Illegal immigrants Hajdarmataj and Hysaj, of no fixed address, were each jailed for two years after they admitted producing the class B drug.

After the case, Detective Constable Tim Prangnell, of Cumbria police, said: “This case involved cannabis cultivation on an industrial scale, fortunately something rarely seen in Cumbria.

“These individuals were from London, but they deliberately targeted Carlisle as a location to conduct their illegal activities. This conviction should send a clear message to others considering criminal ventures: Cumbria is not an easy target. We will find you, we will stop you and you will go to jail.”

Detective Chief Inspector Helen Harkins added: “This activity was brought to our attention via reports by concerned members of the public. Officers responded swiftly to their reports and attended the site.

“I would like to sincerely thank those who made the reports for their vigilance, and for helping to protect their community.

“I would urge anyone out there with concerns regarding drug use or supply to contact police now (non-emergency on 101; in an emergency dial 999), or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

“Your report will be taken seriously, investigated by specialist officers, and could result in criminals like Hysaj and Hajdarmataj being taken off of the streets.”