Occold drug bust trio who benefited by more than £310,000 each ordered to pay back just £1

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

Three men who grew cannabis worth almost £1 million have been ordered by a judge to each hand over just £1.

Police who raided a building at Occold Hatchery in Elm Road on January 6 last year discovered 2,405 cannabis plants in different stages of cultivation.

Steven Duggan

Steven Duggan

Lee Denton, 32, of Madan Road, Westerham, Kent, Steven Duggan, 44, of Lullingstone Crescent, Orpington, Kent and Stephen Carpenter, 50, of Holly Avenue, Stanmore, Middlesex; were arrested after being found in an office at the scene.

In May at Ipswich Crown Court, Denton was jailed for 46 months and Duggan and Carpenter for 34 months each. All the men had pleaded guilty to a charge of production of cannabis.

On Thursday, the three men appeared at the same court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing designed to recoup as much as possible of what they gained from their crimes.

Judge Rupert Overbury heard that specialist financial investigators had looked into the finances of each man and established that Denton, Carpenter and Duggan had each benefited from their crimes by £313,220.

Lee Denton

Lee Denton

The same investigation had concluded that none of the men had any assets which could be confiscated.

Judge Overbury made a confiscation order requiring Denton, of Madam Road, Westerham, Kent, Carpenter, of Holly Avenue, Stanmore, Middlesex and Duggan, of Lullingstone Crescent, Orpington, Kent, to each pay a nominal £1.

When the three men were sentenced in May, the court heard that the owners of the building had been entirely unaware of what was taking place.

The cannabis growers has carried out extensive building work to equip it with the necessary heating, lighting and ventilation equipment.

Stephen Carpenter

Stephen Carpenter

The court heard that following extensive construction work, three growing rooms had been created, fitted out with the necessary heating, lighting, and ventilation equipment.