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ALMOST £30,000 has been confiscated from a drug farmer suspected to have been funding a lavish lifestyle through crime.
Police have seized £29,000 from 37-year-old Andrew Richard Ivison, who was convicted of cultivating cannabis with intent to supply, last year.
Ivison’s home Greenford in Kibblesworth, Gateshead, was searched by police, on October 30, 2006.
Officers found 57 cannabis plants in various stages of maturity in the bedrooms of the house, and a large quantity of harvested cannabis leaves in a chest freezer in preparation for selling.
It was also found that Ivison had tampered with the electricity meter to enable him to run the cultivating equipment.
On May 23, 2008, Ivison was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for producing a controlled Class C drug, possessing drugs with intent to supply and abstracting electricity. He received a 36-week suspended sentence and a 12- month supervision order.
A confiscation order for £29,000 was made against Ivison at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday following a financial investigation comparing Ivison's lifestyle with his legitimate income.
Detective Constable Andy Lee, who worked on the case from the beginning as part of the Financial Investigation Unit at Gateshead, said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act is an effective tool for removing cash and assets obtained by criminals such as drug dealers following their conviction.
“We are very pleased that we regularly obtain such confiscations, as they speak volumes to the public and I'm sure to criminals also, that crime does not pay.
“It not only reflects Northumbria Police’s commitment to disruption of these types of criminal activities, but also serves as an example of the powers within the Proceeds of Crime Act, in removing the lifeblood of crime, namely cash, from those who commit those crimes.
“Confiscated cash is reinvested by the Home Office to fight crime, which we believe the law abiding majority welcome.”