Four men who were jailed for producing significant quantities of cannabis in shipping containers at an isolated rural location in Sutton have been ordered to pay back a total of £239,941 at Croydon Crown Court.
All four have been given three months to pay up or face having their jail terms extended as part of the ruling made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Three of the confiscation hearings were held on Thursday, 23 June. The last one was on Monday, 25 July.
Steven and Maurice Brooks, who are brothers, Michael Searl and Leigh Yarrow were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday, 21 July 2015 to a total of 118 months’ imprisonment for running the factory at Lower Pillory Down close to Woodcote Park Golf Course.
At the confiscation hearing on Monday, 25 July, Steven Brooks, aged 43, (18.11.1972), of Lower Pillory Down, Carshalton, who received 54 months’ imprisonment for production of cannabis and possession of a firearm, was ordered to pay £186,346.80 or face a default sentence of two years and three months.
At the confiscation hearing on Thursday, 23 June, the outcomes were as follows:
Maurice Brooks, aged 36 (02.01.1980), of Lower Pillory Down, who received 13 months’ imprisonment for cannabis production, was ordered to pay £28,542.83 or face a further sentence of 15 months.
Michael Searl, aged 45 (16.12.1970), of Shaldon Drive, Morden, who received 27 months’ imprisonment for cannabis production, was ordered to pay £22,942.83 or face a sentence of 13 months.
Leigh Yarrow, aged 33 (09.09.1982), of Ross Road, Wallington, who received 24 months’ imprisonment for his gardening role in the cannabis production, was ordered to pay £2,109.50 or face 40 days’ imprisonment.
The payments under the Proceeds of Crime Act go to the Home Office. All the default sentences would need to be served in full.
The confiscation proceedings were undertaken by an accredited financial investigator based at Sutton Police Station.
Sutton’s pro-active Crime Squad uncovered the factory when they raided an address at Lower Pillory Down on Tuesday, 11 February 2014. They seized 160 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, 350g of dried skunk cannabis, ten shotguns and more than £12,000 cash. The four men were incriminated by their own CCTV system, which they had installed to protect their business.
Sutton Borough Commander Dave Stringer commented: “These are significant amounts of money and we hope that this case sends out a message that crime doesn’t pay.”