Confiscation order seizes £74,000 from cannabis growing criminals

An indoor cannabis farm

An indoor cannabis farm

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Officers from Thames Valley Police's Asset Recovery Team have obtained confiscation orders against three men who grew cannabis on an industrial scale.

Following a confiscation hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court on Friday 6 January, Terry Edwards, formally of Marsh Road, Aylesbury was ordered to pay £74,300 under The Proceeds of Crime Act.

A confiscation order is an order by the court, designed to take the profit out of crime by confiscatinga defendant's property or money which has been gained through the proceeds of a crime. An order can only be issued after criminal proceedings have taken place.

The 69 year-old was convicted of drug offences in 2015 after more than 1250 cannabis plants were found at his property during a warrant in March 2014. Sammy Edwards, 33, formally of Marsh Road, Aylesbury and Luke Edward Henney, 32, formally of Cotswold Green, Aylesbury, were also convicted.

All three men were sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on 19 November 2015. Terry Edwards was sentenced to 84 months imprisonment and Sammy Edwards was sentenced to 90 months in prison, both for production of a controlled drug and abstraction of electricity, and Luke Henney was sentenced to 30 months in prison for production of a controlled drug.

Following the conviction and sentencing, confiscation proceedings were undertaken.

On 10 June 2016, an order was made against Luke Henney and £258.00 was confiscated from him and on 5 October 2016, Sammy Edwards was made to pay £2000. Terry Edwards disputed all aspects of the confiscation, and the final hearing was held at Aylesbury Crown Court on Friday 6 January 2017.

At the hearing, the judge decided on a figure of £70,800 as the benefit obtained by Terry Edwards from the drugs offences, to be confiscated from him alongside £3500 in costs. A total of £74,300 was ordered as a confiscation, which must be paid within three months.

The judge also imposed that if Edwards defaults on the payments, a three-year imprisonment term will be served consecutively to his current sentence.

The confiscation orders are not fines and cannot change the length of the original sentences; they are an additional process.

Following the hearing, Detective Inspector Gavin Tyrrell from the Economic Crime Unit said: "This is exactly what the Proceeds of Crime Act was designed to do, to remove the profit of crime from those convicted. Imprisonment can be considered by some to be an 'occupational risk' for criminals but when you leave prison and find your money and assets have been confiscated, this hits exactly where it hurts most.

"It should also send a really positive message to our communities that in the Thames Valley, crime will not pay."