A Harrogate man has been ordered to pay back £70,000 under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) or face a prison sentence.
In summer 2015, police seized 18 cannabis plants worth an estimated £24,000 in value following a warrant at Lee Depledge’s home address on the Skipton Road in Harrogate.
Following a two year investigation, 41 year-old Lee Depledge was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on 14 August 2017.
He was given a 15 month suspended prison sentence and ordered to do 200 hours community service after being convicted of the production and cultivation of cannabis.
A confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was then held at at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday 8 August 2018.
His Honor Judge Durham-Hall QC ruled that Depledge had benefited £70,000 from his criminal conduct. He was ordered to pay that sum or face a prison sentence of nine months.
Detective Constable Emma Harris of North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit said:
Drugs cause misery amongst our communities and we will work hard to rid our streets of the harm they cause.
Officers from the force’s Economic Crime Unit work tirelessly to put evidence before the courts which decide if criminals have benefited from their criminal conduct.
The outcome from this case reinforces the message to those wishing to engage in criminal activity, that the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) will be used at every opportunity to makes sure criminals do not benefit from their crimes.