Cannabis-growing trio ordered to pay back almost £300,000 by courts

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A CANNABIS grower has been ordered to pay back £278,000 which he was found to have accumulated through both cultivating the drug and money-laundering.

Shakeel Afsar, from Rotherham, is serving a four-year prison sentence for the offences and must pay back the money within six months. If the 31-year-old fails to do so he will serve an additional three years in prison.

At a confiscation hearing held earlier this year, Afsar’s partner, Praphatsorn Wacharaluecha, 28, who lived with him at Moor Way in Swallownest, was ordered to pay back £10,875 while his 30-year-old brother Shabbir Afsar, from Industry Road in Darnall, Sheffield, was ordered to pay back £932.

The pair are serving prison sentences of 15 months and three years respectively for the same offences.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “The extent of the trio’s criminal gains was discovered following a complaint of assault in December 2008 that led officers to search an address linked to Shakeel Afsar.

“The search uncovered a quantity of cash and cannabis plants. Searches of two further properties followed and larger quantities of cash and more cannabis plants were recovered.

“Immediately following the three being sentenced, a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act began that resulted in £290,207 being recovered.

“Some of the monies recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act goes directly back into the community; used to fund a number of community initiatives through the South Yorkshire Community Foundation.

Graham Wragg, head of the South Yorkshire Police Economic Crime Unit, added: “Criminals who profit from crime will be made to pay back that profit or face further terms of imprisonment.

“In this respect their debt to society will remain with them for life or until they have repaid it.”

Afsar was ordered to pay back the money at a hearing on Thursday, June 14.