A trio of criminals have been jailed for 18 years after using the cover of a lettings agency to allow them to establish a series of cannabis farms.
Brothers Hanif and Bilal Valli, together with former school friend Zameer Qayume set up a network of farms in houses and apartments in Bolton, then installing Vietnamese tenants to look after the crops.
The Bolton News claims that the trio used Global Estates - set up in the town by Hanif Valli and Qayume - to create fake tenancies. Non-existent tenants were created to lease the premises, mostly people apparently from overseas, and false documents were created to support their tenancy agreements.
The newspaper says police became suspicious when they found that several cannabis farms they were raiding were all handled by Global Estates.
Officers found 1,750 plants, worth an estimated £700,000, in eight properties with cannabis equipment in a ninth between October 31 2011, and September 14 2012.
The Bolton News claims all the properties were linked to the agency or the defendants, and that even a flat above Global Estates’ offices was being used to grow the drug.
The trio admitted conspiracy to produce cannabis. The Valli brothers were each jailed for seven years and Qayume was sentenced to four years and two months.