A convicted child sex offender who had a cannabis farm at his home has been ordered to pay back nearly £40,000 by a judge at Bristol Crown Court.
David Roberts, from Bristol, was convicted of 16 offences in October last year. He was arrested when an investigation began into abuse on girls aged between 12 and 16 years old, over a period of five years, between 2004 and 2009.
When police raided his home, a cannabis factory was found. Detectives later found Roberts had made £86,988 from the sale of the drugs produced there.
At a confiscation hearing, he was ordered to pay £38,125 within six months to pay and will face another nine months in jail if he fails to pay up. He would also still have to pay the order with interest being added until he does pay.
Dr Kirstie Cogram, manager of Avon and Somerset police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: “We are committed to seizing any assets that criminals have gained as a result of crime. It is not acceptable that criminals benefit from illegal activities and we will relentlessly pursue them through the courts to ensure their money is taken. By doing this we show criminals that they will not benefit from crime and hopefully deter others from entering a life of crime.”
The news comes as it emerged more than 20 cannabis farms and factories were discovered by police across the UK every day last year as they seized drugs which could sell for £100 million on the streets.
Senior police chiefs said the size and scale of the farms were reducing as criminals producing cannabis were spreading the risk and minimising losses by employing a large number of so-called gardeners to manage small sites across multiple residential areas.
Over the two years since the last report by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), some 1.1 million plants have been seized with a street value of £207.4 million.
Some 653 cannabis farms, or 40 per 100,000 people, were discovered in the Avon and Somerset force area in 2011. But South Yorkshire had 64 farms per 100,000 people, the highest ratio in the UK, with 851 farms.