A man from south Norfolk who was found to be growing cannabis has been ordered to pay £85,000.

Trevor Palmer, 52, of Tabernacle Lane in Forncett St Peter, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court in March last year.

He received a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, for the production of a controlled Class B drug (cannabis) and the possession of criminal property. 

After appearing in court, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary and financial investigators from Eastern Region Special Operations started looking into Palmer's finances.

A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing on February 28 ordered Palmer to pay £85,000 within 12 weeks or face 18 months in prison.

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A POCA aims to reclaim any profits gained by criminals during their time offending to help prevent further offences.

During the investigation, Palmer's energy usage in his property was five times the amount usually expected for a family home, despite Palmer being the only person in the house.

It was estimated, based on this energy usage, that Palmer had been growing the drug for more than two years, resulting in around £70,000 worth of cannabis.

ERSOU senior financial investigator manager Paul Fitzsimmons said: “Palmer will now be made to pay for his actions, highlighting that crime does not pay.

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"His lifestyle was the result of his criminal activities and by utilising POCA legislation to seize profits, we endeavour to break the cycle of criminality.’’

Investigating officer PC Nick Baldwin added: “Drugs have a significant, negative impact on our local communities and we continue to pursue and disrupt this activity whenever possible.

"I hope Palmer’s sentence serves as a reminder that drug criminality will not be tolerated within our neighbourhoods.”