August 2, 2008

Drug Pair to Return Pounds400k

Two men who set up a cannabis factory at a fishery have been ordered to hand over a total of almost pounds400,000 to pay for their crime - or face further time in jail.

Police discovered a barn at Amerton Nursery, near Stafford, which had been fully equipped for propagating high-quality "skunk", and housed 700 plants.

The crop, which was almost ready for harvesting, would have netted fishery owner Andrew Cupples and the fishery manager, Stephen Barnes, thousands of pounds.

They intended to use the cash to build fishing lodges for anglers on the banks of their water.

At their trial in February, Cupples, aged 44, of Amerton Nursery, Amington, was jailed for a total of 54 months and Barnes, aged 38, of the same address, was given 39 months. Each of them admitted conspiracy to produce cannabis, and being concerned in an arrangement to acquire criminal property.

In a hearing yesterday, under The Proceeds Of Crime Act, Nick Burn, prosecuting, told Stafford Crown Court that financial amounts had been agreed with the defendants.

(c) 2008 Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.