Drug dealer loses profit from crime

DI Graham Wragg at Snig Hill
DI Graham Wragg at Snig Hill
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A drug producer who set up a cannabis factory in his garage has been ordered to pay back the £343,738 he made from his crime.

Matthew Whitehead, aged 45, of Wigtwizzle Barn, Bolsterstone, has been given six months to pay back the cash – or face three years in prison.

Whitehead was arrested in November 2010 following a police raid on a property he owned in Cawthorne, Barnsley.

In his garage 22 fully-grown cannabis plants were discovered, plus over 50 cannabis stumps, suggesting a previously harvested crop.

Police calculated that the plants could have produced enough cannabis to sell on the streets for around £31,000.

Whitehead pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis and was sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars in August 2011 and an investigation into his finances was launched.

Police found evidence to suggest that Whitehead made £347,783.43 from his criminality and a crown court judge ordered its return under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Graham Wragg, manager of South Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “The cultivation, use of and after-effects of drugs continue to be a problem for police forces and society in general.

“Matthew Whitehead was obviously making a substantial profit from this enterprise, and it is only right that he should be made to pay back his profits.

“I hope this will send out a warning message to anyone involved or contemplating committing crimes of this nature.”