A MAN has admitted producing cannabis as part of a £500,000 drug operation.

Dat Nguyen dramatically changed his plea during a pre-trial hearing at Worcester Crown Court.

During the hearing Michael Conry, prosecuting, said police found Nguyen at a house in Worcester on January 15 of this year, where he said a "half a million pound cannabis set up" was in operation.

The 31-year-old's barrister Joanne Outhwaite was then asked if Nguyen could be arraigned on two charges, to which she replied: "I see no reason why not."

The defence barrister said Nguyen had indicated he would be pleading not guilty, adding: "He is essentially saying he is not guilty of the offences in that he had not known that the plants he was tending to were cannabis, or that he was acting unlawfully.

"His defence is he didn't realise they were drugs."

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His honour Judge Nicholas Cartwright then read out notes on the case saying "I see he thought it was herbal medication".

The charge, that he was involved in the production of a controlled class B drug, cannabis, was then read to him, and when he was asked of his plea he said through his Vietnamese interpreter that he wanted to speak to his barrister.

Proceedings were halted and the court room was cleared for 10 minutes. When the hearing resumed the charge was put again to Nguyen, who replied "guilty".

The Oldbury Road resident then also pleaded guilty to a second count of using and possessing criminal property.

The particulars of that offence are that Nguyen had in his possession £777 in cash and an iPhone, knowing or suspecting it to be criminal property.

Ms Outhwaite said she saw no reason for a pre sentence report to be ordered, also adding: "by his own admission he is an illegal immigrant into this country".

The case was adjourned for sentencing on March 4.

A second defendant Huong Hoang, also appeared at the hearing charged with the production of cannabis.

The 46-year-old of no fixed abode, who is also Vietnamese, gave no plea during the hearing that was held on February 17.

Her defence barrister, Nicholas Berry, said Hoang had since told the police she had been trafficked to the country.

Mr Berry said the National Referral Mechanism was in process to identify whether or not she was the victim of human trafficking, which could potentially affect her prosecution.

Hoang was told by judge Cartwright to return to court for Nguyen's sentencing hearing to see the outcome on whether it had been deemed reasonable grounds or not.

Both remained in custody.