Burnley man stripped of £42,000 for cannabis farm gains

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A SECURITY engineer who admitted producing cannabis at his Burnley home has been ordered to pay back more than £42,000 from the proceeds of his crime.

Christopher Thompson (37) was found to have more than £22,000 worth of cannabis and £1,000 in cash when police executed a drugs warrant at his home in Red Lees Road.

Officers uncovered a purpose-built room within an outbuilding at the property which was fitted out with high-powered lighting, fans, extractors and other items required for the growing of cannabis plants. They also recovered a quantity of processed cannabis as well as 18 small cannabis plants.

Thompson, now of Burnley Road, Brierfield, was charged with producing a Class B drug and admitted the offence in court on October 18th. He was handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 24 months and ordered to carry out 250 hours’ of community service.

A financial investigation has since found Thompson benefited from the cannabis production to the tune of £42,981.83.

During a Proceeds Of Crime Act hearing at Burnley Crown Court on Wednesday he was ordered to pay back the full amount within six months or face a 15-month jail sentence in addition to paying back his ill-gotten gains.

DC Tony Morris, financial investigator for Lancashire Constabulary’s Pennine Division, said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act is one of the many tools we are using to come down hard on offenders.

“In the case of Christopher Thompson, it has given us the power to strip him of the considerable assets he has acquired through his cannabis production plant and sends out a clear message to anyone considering embarking on a similar venture that crime does not pay.”