June 20 2013 Latest news:
Jane Ball , News Editor
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
A man who ran the UK’s largest underground drugs factory from an industrial site in Rainham has been ordered to pay back £300,000 of his crime profits - or face years more in jail.
John Reilly, from Stepney Green, east London, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for drug and firearms offences following the discovery of the sophisticated subterranean drug bunkers, in Arnolds Fields, in February last year, Basildon Crown Court heard yesterday (Tuesday July 3).
Officers found large shipping containers buried into the ground and hillside filled with active cannabis factories as well as cannabis growing sites either in a state of de-commission or preparation.
The military-style complex was hidden behind concealed trapdoors and protected by an arsenal of weapons including petrol bombs, a Kalashnikov rifle, shotguns and guard dogs.
An AK47 assault rifle, two sawn-off shotguns and three handguns were recovered along with two loaded magazines, ammunition, shotgun cartridges.
Reilly now has three months to pay £303,404 or face a further two years’ and three months’ imprisonment with the confiscation amount still enforceable, the court heard.
Reilly, 47, pleading guilty to a number of firearm and drug related offences and was jailed in July 21 last year.
The Met Police’s TSG Payback Unit commenced a financial investigation against Reilly to deprive him of his profits from this vast criminal enterprise.
PS Dean Murray of the unit said: “This is an excellent result against someone who had not come to notice of police for a substantial number of years.
“A financial investigation was carried out by TSG Officers, including PC David Webb who uncovered substantial cash in various bank accounts, ownership of a Jaguar XK luxury car, as well as attempts by Reilly to purchase a farm in a remote area of Essex, where it was believed another substantial cannabis factory would have been commissioned.”