Tip off lead to discovery of £150,000 cannabis farm

Cannabis found at a house in Bamber Bridge on June 17
Cannabis found at a house in Bamber Bridge on June 17
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Two men who were behind a £150,000 cannabis farm found in Bamber Bridge have been ordered to pay back some of their ill gotten gains.

John Arthur Wood, of Lichen Close, Charnock Richard, Chorley, and John Stephen Maher, of Dobbs Drive, Formby, Liverpool, were hauled back before the courts under Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, which allows the authorities to seize assets from criminals to stop them benefiting from their misdemeanours.

Wood, who is 62, and 44-year-old Maher were quickly arrested after the discovery of the major cannabis farm in the town in June 2015.

Wood was later convicted of producing cannabis while Maher was convicted of possessing cannabis and producing it, Preston Crown Court was told.

The community was shocked when the illegal set up was exposed after officers raided an industrial unit at the Old Mill Industrial Estate in School Street, Bamber Bridge. It came after a tip off from suspicious members of public.

They found a significant industrial sized cannabis hydroponic set-up.

More than 100 plants were growing and three vacuum packs of cropped cannabis were seized.

The haul was later valued at around £150,000.

The court heard Wood was found by financial investigators to have benefited to the tune of £38,957 while Maher benefited by £50,457.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, ordered Wood to pay back £9,957.22 of his realisable assets within three months or face five months in jail in default.

Maher must pay back £2,407.14 from his assets within three months, or he will face two months in jail in default.