Brothers to repay £55,000 Whimple cannabis farm profits

PUBLISHED: 09:29 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 31 July 2018

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

Judge orders pair to repay their illegal gains or face 30 weeks in jail

A pair of brothers who used an East Devon chicken farm as cover for a £55,000 cannabis growing operation have been ordered to pay back their illegal profits.

Somerset-based businessmen Daniel and Benjamin Adams rented isolated farm buildings at Whimple, where they converted sheds into high tech growing areas.

Both men received suspended jail sentences at Exeter Crown Court in March this year and they have now been ordered to hand over £55,000 within three months or face a 30 week jail sentence.

Judge Timothy Rose rubberstamped an agreed settlement under the Proceeds of Crime Act in which he declared the joint benefit from crime to be £55,074.34.

He assessed Ben Adams’s assets as being £39,000 and his brother Daniel’s at £27,537.17 - exactly half the amount.

The brothers have agreed to repay the full amount between them within the deadline.

In the case in March, a jury heard how they rented an isolated farmhouse at Farlands, London Road, Whimple, and allowed it to beused as a cannabis factory.

Police raided the property, which consisted of a bungalow farmhouse and the sheds, in December 2016, and found seven plants and 5.71 kilograms of freshly harvested female flowering heads of cannabis.

They claimed they had no idea what was going on at the farm but a judge rejected their stories after learning they paid a £15,000 electricity bill and made weekly visits.

When the electricity company inquired about the size of the bill the brothers told them they were rearing poultry and had incubators on day and night.

Both brothers run their own businesses with Benjamin owning a property development company and Daniel organising game shoots in Somerset.

Daniel, aged 35, of Higher Vexford, Lydeard St Lawrence, Taunton; and Benjamin, aged 32, of Park Gate, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, both admitted permitting premises to be used for the production of cannabis.

They were both jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work by Judge David Evans at the original hearing at Exeter Crown Court.

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