Guestling man ordered to pay £220k

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A 66-year old man has been ordered to pay back more than £220,000 after producing cannabis in a portacabin and trailer unit at his house in Guestling.

David Wilson, living at Guestling House, was arrested in January, 2013, following the execution of a drugs warrant by officers from Rother’s neighbourhood policing teams.

They found more than 300 cannabis plants in various stages of growth and evidence of previous crops were found during the search.

In addition, the electricity supply to the growing areas had been bypassed.

Wilson pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and abstraction of electricity when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on August 12, 2013.

He told the court the cannabis was for his personal use as an alternative to conventional painkillers.

However, this explanation was not accepted by the CPS, or the court, and Wilson was sentenced to 36 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

A Sussex Police financial investigator calculated Mr Wilson had benefitted from his criminality to the value of £224,116.56.

At a hearing at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, February 5, this year under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) he was ordered to pay that amount within three months or to serve 30 months in prison in default, and still have to pay.

Detective inspector Mick Richards, of the Sussex Police economic crime unit, said: “Wilson tried to hide his assets by putting a 50 per cent share of his property on his wife’s name but our financial investigator established that this was after his conviction.

“We will continue to pursue criminal activity beyond court conviction, using the skills of our investigators to help recover money for the benefit of law-abiding society.

“So far this year alone we have achieved confiscation orders worth more than £2m.”

Funds seized by the courts through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders go to the central government exchequer.

However, a proportion of this is returned to law enforcement.

POCA-derived funding is distributed equally between the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable.

Sussex Police receives 50 per cent cash back from cash forfeitures and 18.75 per cent cash back from confiscation orders such as this.

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