‘Pay up or serve more time’

A man who helped grow a crop of cannabis plants has been ordered to hand over more than £12,000.

Simon Hicks, 41, was jailed in April for 20 months after pleading guilty to involvement in the production of a class B drug between April and June last year.

He had helped to water the 1,263 plants which police found when they raided an address in Addison Road, Sudbury.

The cannabis was being grown inside four steel shipping containers which had been rented by Hicks, of Sackers Green, Newton, along with the industrial unit.

When he was jailed, the court heard that Hicks had become involved in watering the crop after being intimidated by Paul O’Meara, currently serving a sentence for cigarette smuggling, and who it was alleged was behind the scheme.

On Friday, Hicks returned to court for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act designed to recoup as much as possible of any financial benefit he gained from his offending.

The court heard that specialist financial investigators had established that Hicks had made £12,280, which Judge Peter Thompson ruled must be forfeited.

Judge Thompson warned Hicks that if he fails to hand over the money, he will face an additional seven months in jail.