A THIRD man has been jailed for his role in the production of cannabis at the largest factory ever discovered in Dorset.

Kastriot Aliaj, 31, was found guilty of the production of cannabis and possession of criminal property.

He was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court of Monday.

Aliaj is now the third person to be put before the courts in relation to the factory at Sandford Lane Industrial Estate in Wareham, which had a potential crop of between £2.3million and £7.1million. It was discovered in December 2019.

Leonard Bruci and Arber Aliaj were sentenced to two years and three months in prison at an earlier hearing.

They were sentenced on the basis that they had a lesser role in that they were tending the plants.

However, Kastriot Aliaj was deemed to have a more significant role in the operation as he would drive to and from Birmingham, delivering food, plants and cash.

Analysis of phones seized from the defendants showed that Kastriot Aliaj had been in repeated contact with the others and appeared to be travelling between Birmingham and Wareham on a regular basis.

He was charged with possession of criminal property when he was found with just over £3,000 connected with the factory.

Recorder Gordon Bebb QC sentenced the defendant, an Albanian national, to five years in prison for the production of cannabis, and one year for the possession of criminal property, to run concurrently.

Detective Constable Declan Cummings, of Dorset Police, said: “These men were clearly involved in a major operation to produce illegal drugs and thanks to information received from a member of the public, we were able to uncover their factory and seize a significant quantity of cannabis.

“We are fully aware of the detrimental impact the supply of illegal drugs and related activity has on our communities and we will do all we can to disrupt the efforts of those involved in the supply chain.

“Anyone with information about drug related activity in their area is urged to contact us at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101.”