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Couple convicted of drugs offences ordered to pay back £75k

A married couple from Sandbach, convicted of drugs offences, have been ordered to pay back their ill-gotten gains.

James Sneddon, 52, and Alison Sneddon, 53, were charged with class B drug offences after a large quantity of cannabis plants and drug paraphernalia were discovered at their home in Arley Walk on 20 February 2015.

They were sentenced at Chester Crown Court on 2 February 2018.

Mr Sneddon admitted a charge of being concerned in the production of a controlled drug of class B (cannabis) and was given a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to adhere to rehabilitation activity requirements.

Mrs Sneddon pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of class B (cannabis) and was ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work.

They returned to the court for a proceeds of crime confiscation hearing on Friday 4 January 2019.

The court heard that a thorough financial investigation conducted by Cheshire Police had revealed that the couple made a total of £75,526.62 from their drug dealing activities.

They were given confiscation orders to pay back the entire sum, with James Sneddon owing £40,490.51 and his wife Alison owing £35,036.11.

They have three months to pay the money or they will be handed a default 12-month prison sentence.

Detective Inspector Alastair Hinze, of Cheshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “A criminal investigation was launched against James and Alison Sneddon when more than 50 cannabis plants and a wide range of drugs paraphernalia were discovered after a search warrant was executed at their home.

“This investigation revealed that the couple were producing and selling cannabis oil as well as cannabis.

“Although neither of them were given an immediate prison sentence upon the conclusion of that investigation, I am pleased to say that they have now been ordered to pay back all the money they made from turning their home into a cannabis farm.

“The confiscation investigation was conducted in tandem with the criminal investigation and I would like to thank all those involved for their hard work in uncovering the extent of the couple’s ill-gotten gains over a significant period of time.

“At Cheshire Police we have a role of ensuring that crime does not pay. Thanks to the confiscation orders that have been imposed by Chester Crown Court, we have achieved that goal in relation to James and Alison Sneddon.”

A proportion of confiscated money comes back to Cheshire Police to be used to fight crime.

Chief Inspector Simon Newall, of the Crewe Local Policing Unit, said: “Illegal drugs blight communities across the UK and cause untold damage to the lives of both those who use the drugs and become dependent on them and the wider community who suffer from the resulting crime.

“At Cheshire Police we will not stand by and let this happen.

“If you have any concerns relating to drugs activity in your community please call Cheshire Police on 101, give us the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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