Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

HOLY SMOKE; Jail Warning for Drugs Dealer Who Grew Crop in Old Church

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

HOLY SMOKE; Jail Warning for Drugs Dealer Who Grew Crop in Old Church

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL MCKAY

A DRUGS peddler who grew his crop in a disused church could have his prison sentence doubled if he doesn't pay his debts.

Paul Pratt, 44, owned the former methodist church in Park Road, Blackhill, Consett, County Durham.

Following a police bust, officers found he was using seven rooms to cultivate cannabis plants, illegally tapping into the electricity supply to heat and light the crop.

As well as sentencing Pratt to two years in jail at Durham Crown Court in January this year, Judge Christopher Prince ordered him to pay pounds 116,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act by selling the church.

An order was also made for Pratt to compensate the electricity company of pounds 15,972 he illegally used in cultivating the cannabis.

Pratt was given six months to repay the money or face a further two years in jail, and the deadline runs out on July 18.

Yesterday, Judge Christopher Prince was told by Glenn Gatland, representing Pratt, that his client had been unable to sell the chapel. …

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