A MAN from South Tyneside man who was jailed for his part in a £200,000 cannabis farm operation has been ordered to pay back just £1. Steven Gowans, 30, stood to benefit by £104,000 from the drug farm and was sentenced to three years behind bars in November. He and former South Shields man Nathan Dadswell were caught running a drugs operation from an industrial unit in Hartlepool. Police raided the site on the Sandgate Industrial Estate, on May 8, 2010, and described it as a “substantial cultivation of cannabis”. Dadswell, 28, was sentenced to 22 months in prison for his role in the drugs farm. Both men were back in court to face a Proceeds of Crime Act application in a bid to try to claw back money that had been made illegally. Teesside Crown Court heard the cannabis had a potential value of £208,700. Paul Cleasby, prosecuting said both men stood to benefit from the value of the drugs, amounting to £104,000 each. Police, who sifted through the men’s financial accounts, found that Gowans, of Garrick Street, South Shields, had about £40,000 in unexplained cash which had since been spent.
Mr Cleasby said: “The defendants were convicted of production of cannabis. It was a large-scale cannabis farm which was discovered, and the defendants were part of the managers of that, say the Crown. “Police have researched the defendant Gowans’s assets. He had some property that has been repossessed. This defendant has no realisable assets.” Gowans accepted he stood to benefit by £158,669 from criminal activity, including his involvement in the cannabis farm. But because he now has no money to his name, he was ordered to pay a nominal £1. Dadswell, formerly of Crofton Street, South Shields, will return to court for another hearing because he is disputing how much he is alleged to have benefited from criminal activities. His barrister, Peter Schofield, said Dadswell told the court he only expected to be given a couple of hundred pounds for his involvement. He said he stands to lose his house, valued at about £30,000, if he is found accountable for his £104,000 share of the operation. Dadswell’s case will be decided in May.
via : Shields Gazette
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