AN illegal immigrant paid $20,000 to human traffickers on the promise he would be given employment in the UK, only to be left to run a 245 cannabis plant facility.

Vietnamese national Dong Hoang, 41, handed his family savings to people smugglers and left his wife and two children behind, a court heard.

Hoang was told he would be given a job but instead had to look after the cannabis facility at a Blackwood house in isolation, his barrister Andrew Jones said.

Today, Newport Judge RA Britton sentenced him to nine months in prison after he pleaded guilty to producing cannabis.

Hoang is to be deported back to his country after serving half his sentence in custody, Newport Crown Court heard.

Mr Jones told the court how Hoang travelled to London and then Cardiff before being left in the house in Bryngoleu Terrace, Pontllanfraith.

Mr Jones said he was only given food as he took part in the illegal running of the 'sophisticated' cannabis facility.

Mr Jones stressed this was not a cannabis factory but rather a house used to grow the class B drug.

Police arrested him during a raid of the house on July 21 where he effectively worked as a 'gardener', the court heard.

Officers estimate the plants had a potential yield of between £17,000 and £168,000, depending on how the drugs would be sold, the court was told.

"The only people that benefit are the traffickers, the people smugglers," Mr Jones told Newport Crown Court.

Sentencing Hoang to prison, Judge Britton told him: "You caused misery to people who take drugs and the community and the Home Office takes a serious view off such offences."

Judge Britton also ordered that the plants be forfeited and destroyed.