A CANNABIS cultivation with a potential value of more than £150,000 was discovered when police raided a block of flats in Kilbirnie.

Dritan Nikolli produced the class B drug at a block of "tenement style flats" in the town's Avils Hill.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to producing the drug and being concerned in its supply when he appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week.

The cultivation, which had a potential value of upwards of £150,000, was discovered by police on April 26.

The court heard how officers immediately detected an "extremely strong smell of cannabis" coming from the top floor flats of the fifth block on the street when they attended at 11am.

They then entered the common close of the property - which comprises three floors, with two flats on each landing - where the loud humming of fans was noted.

Officers also observed that the top floor landing was "significantly warmer" than the rest of the close.

Cops then knocked the doors of all six flats within the building, but got no response.

When they began looking through letter boxes, they observed equipment which could be used in the cultivation of cannabis within the two top floor flats.

On forcing entry to the two properties they discovered four separate cultivations spread across two rooms within each flat, as well as a further cultivation in the common loft space.


Cultivation equipment was also found in one ground floor flat - which is where police found Nikolli sitting on a chair in the bathroom.

Nikolli, described as an Albanian national, was found to be in possession of a plastic documents file containing tenancy agreements for several flats within the block, including the flats where cultivations were found.

It was later revealed the names on these tenancy agreements were fake.

Nikolli, described in court papers as a prisoner at HMP Kilmarnock, was then arrested and taken to Saltcoats police station, where he made no comment at interview.

Police obtained a search warrant for the property and carried out a formal search, when a total of 273 mature cannabis plants were recovered from the top floor flats and loft space.

Equipment including lighting, fans, a thermometer and plant nutrients were also recovered.



The cultivation was given an estimated low value of £53,600 and a high value of £163,800.

Sheriff Murdo Mactaggart deferred sentence until the new year for background reports and remanded Nikolli in custody.