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Norfolk farmer who grew hundreds of cannabis plants to save his business ordered to pay back £90,000

PUBLISHED: 15:26 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:18 27 September 2018

James Ogilvy was jailed for 25 months for growing cannabis and stealing pigs. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

James Ogilvy was jailed for 25 months for growing cannabis and stealing pigs. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A struggling Norfolk farmer who grew hundreds of cannabis plants to try to keep his farm afloat has been ordered to repay a total of £90,000 at a hearing to claw back cash.

James Ogilvy, 65, allowed containers at Valley Farm, Beeston, near Dereham, to be used to grow cannabis plants with a potential street value of £1m.

While on bail for that offence he was caught trying to steal 31 piglets from a farm at Great Cressingham, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Ogilvy was jailed for 25 months for allowing premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis and also theft back in February 2015, but was back in court for a confiscation hearing.

Hugh Vass, prosecuting, said the total amount sought was for him to pay £90,000 but said that Ogilvy had already paid back more than £40,000. He said that Ogilvy had now agreed to pay a further £49,410.

Mr Vass said: “This is an agreed order.” He said that this would mean that Ogilvy would now have paid the £90,000 in full for the confiscation hearing.

Kerry Waitt, for Ogilvy, said that the terms of the order had been all agreed.

Judge Stephen Holt said the further £49,410 should be paid within the next three months and he imposed a 10-month jail sentence in default of the cash not being paid.

At the earlier sentencing hearing the court heard how Ogilvy claimed the downturn in farming income and debts forced him to turn to crime to try to keep his farm going, which he had been running for more than 10 years.

When police raided the farm in April 2014, the court heard there were 200 plants at various stages, with a street value of around £117,000 to £156,000, and if there were four crops the court heard the operation would have been capable of producing cannabis with a street value of about a £1 million a year.

While on bail for that offence, Ogilvy was caught trying to steal piglets from a farm in Great Cressingham as Ogilvy was spotted with another man trying to load piglets into crates.

The other man got away, but Ogilvy was caught red-handed and the piglets recovered.

However the fact the pigs had been attempted to be moved meant they fell foul of strict EU regulations on the movement of livestock, which caused extra problems for the farmer.

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