Cannabis growers to pay just £1 each

THREE cannabis farmers jailed for growing £34,000 worth of drugs between them have been ordered to pay just £1 each to the authorities.

Hartlepool men Colin Hackworth, John Robinson and Mark Coser were jailed for a total of 33 months at Teesside Crown Court in separate cases.

All three had set up cannabis farms to produce drugs for their own use, with Hackworth occasionally selling small amounts.

Despite the high potential value of the drugs, the men were ordered to pay nominal £1 fees to the authorities following a proceeds of crime hearing yesterday.

Financial investigators had looked into each of the men’s affairs but found none had any money at their disposal to pay back.

Hackworth, 43, was arrested after a witnesses reported a smell of cannabis around his address in Coleridge Avenue, Hartlepool.

Officers found 128 plants in a set-up in the front bedroom that included wall insulation, filtration systems and halogen lights as well as a smaller operation in another bedroom.

The electrician’s mate admitted cannabis production and abstracting £1,101.53 of electricity as on November 30, 2010.

The court heard his cannabis use had escalated after he suffered a significant arm injury two years ago.

He was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Yesterday’s hearing was told Hackworth stood to make £19,173 from the operation.

But a confiscation order for £1 was made which was all that was available.

Robinson, 29, was jailed for six months after police raided a property in Church Street

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on January 16 and found 30 cannabis plants worth between £8,000.

Robinson, of Powell Street, admitted cannabis production.

Coser, 39, was also jailed for six months after police went to his home above a shop in Owton Manor Lane.

Between the time he answered the door he threw 24 cannabis plants in two blue recycling boxes out of a window.

The court heard the cannabis seized had a negotiated value of £7,000.

Coser also admitted cannabis production from November 24 2010.

Each defendant paid the ordered amounts yesterday after being told they faced seven days prison in default if it was not paid within the next week.