Cannabis cultivator Mark Bowler is ordered to pay back £27,500
A MAN who grew cannabis near Launceston has been ordered to pay back £27,500 as his proceeds of crime.
At Truro Crown Court Mark Bowler, of Ladycross Cottages, Werrington, was ordered to pay the money within six months or face a year in jail.
In July 2012 Bowler was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 80 hours' unpaid work after being convicted of producing cannabis which, the court heard, had a potential street value of between £1,890 and £4,520.
At Wednesday's hearing Philip Lee, for the prosecution, said Bowler's benefit from his criminal activities had been agreed at £30,000.
The amount of his available assets was disputed but Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, ruled that the figures were £3,500 for a piece of land at Bridgerule in Devon and £24,000 for the property in Brittany. The confiscation hearing took a long time because of matters relating to the French property, Judge Harvey Clark said.
After the hearing, financial investigator Jo Wilson said that in the nine months from April 2013 to January this year the Cornwall financial investigation unit had confiscated £592,829.69 from criminals in Cornwall.
"We're proud that some confiscated funds come back into the police force, and our policy is then that we provide funds for local good causes," she said.
"Criminals should not be allowed to benefit from their crimes and we work hard to ensure any assets they have are included in confiscation orders. We're allowed by the Proceeds of Crime Act to go back into a criminal's life, calculating any previous benefit of crime. If the subsequent confiscation orders aren't paid then the defendant will have to spend some time in prison, which doesn't wipe out the necessity to pay for the confiscation."