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Man denies drugs charges after cannabis farm raided in Fife

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A man has been accused of cutivating a cannabis farm on the outskirts of a Fife village.

Ardit Beraj, whose address was given as Christie Street, Paisley, is alleged to have been concerned in the supply of the class B drug at Hilltop Farm, Upper Steelend near Saline between September 1, 2018, and November 27, 2018.

Albanian national Beraj, who appeared in the dock at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, alongside an interpreter, also faces a second charge of producing the controlled drug between the same dates.

Twenty-five-year-old Beraj denies the two charges and is expected to stand trial next year.

The appearance comes after police swooped on the property on November 27, 2018, and discovered around 250 cannabis plants growing in an outdoor shed on site.

The plants were said at the time to have had a potential street value of around £70,000.

Police Scotland said officers were acting  on a tip-off from members of the public when they executed a search warrant.

Solicitors acting for Beraj maintained their client’s not guilty pleas to both charges when he appeared before Sheriff James Williamson and lodged a special defence of coercion.

Beraj is currently in the care of the charity Migrant Help in Paisley, which supports asylum seekers, refugees and victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

During the latest hearing in Kirkcaldy, depute fiscal Claire Bremner was asked by Sheriff Williamson about the status of a co-accused, Bermir Shehu, 31, who also appeared on the indictment.

She said information had been received by the Home Office which had led to the proceedings against Shehu, of Great Western Road, Glasgow, being discontinued.

Sheriff Williamson continued the case until February 23, and Beraj’s bail was continued until that date.

The raid on the Upper Steelend farm was part of Operation Prospect, a Fife based focus on tackling drug crime.

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