Essex man involved in huge cannabis operation ordered to pay just £1

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court
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An Essex man, who was caught and convicted of growing tens of thousands of pounds of cannabis, has been ordered by a court to hand over just £1.

Oliver Little, 25, of Whitlock Drive in Great Yeldham, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court this week.

In June, Little was jailed for six-and-a-half years, after admitting being involved in the production of cannabis.

His arrest in April 2015 came as police investigated a suspected burglary at an industrial unit in Crockett Road, on the Lady Lane Industrial Estate in Hadleigh.

Officers discovered more than one thousand cannabis plants being cultivated on a specially-built mezzanine floor inside a rented unit, behind a legitimate business.

Experts estimated that when fully mature the plants would have yielded up to 84 kilos of cannabis with a value of between £70,000 and £210,000.

On Monday, Little appeared for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, designed to recoup as much as possible of what he gained from his crime.

Mr Recorder Rex Bryan was told Little’s benefit had been established by specialist financial investigators as £51,608.

The same investigation found Little had available assets of just £1, which Mr Recorder Bryan ordered him to pay within the next 14 days.