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Sussex Police: Father and son cannabis growers sentenced

September 25, 2012, 3:36 pm

A Piltdown father and son are to give up criminal profits from drug dealing.

John David Moss, 62, and his son, Alisdair Eric Moss, 39, who both lived at Wrens Stud, Piltdown, near Uckfield, were arrested on 6 March 2011, when Sussex Police oficers executed a search warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 at their home address. The search revealed a total of 776 Cannabis plants, 398 of which were established and being grown in 12 separate grow rooms and tents, the 378 other plants being young and in a nursery ready to re-stock the growing rooms. The premises also contained a drying room, packaging boxes, drying nets and scales. The electricity meter had also been tampered with.

During their respective police interviews, John Moss tried to take the blame for the whole set-up and Alisdair insisted that he had had no involvement, other than helping to build the partitions and purchasing certain equipment. The claim was that he was a naïve and unwitting participant.

However, following a thorough financial investigation by Sussex Police, it was established that John Moss had no bank accounts, but instead all purchases of equipment were made using one of his son’s credit cards, and unexplained cash totalling £69,217 was paid into Alisdair’s bank accounts and to pay off his credit card.

As a result of this financial investigation, on 21 October 2011, both defendants were charged with three counts of money laundering to the total value of £69,217.00. Additionally, John Moss was charged with production of Cannabis.

John Moss pleaded guilty to all charges on 20 January this year. The case was adjourned pending the trial of his son, Alisdair, who was pleading not guilty until, on 14 June, as a result of the evidence of expert police financial investigator, Geoff Thomas, who had provided evidence of the money laundering and was going to be the only prosecution witness to give evidence, Alisdair Moss pleaded guilty to the three money laundering charges.

As a result Alisdair Moss was given a custodial sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years. John Moss was sentenced to three years imprisonment for the production of cannabis and the money laundering offences.

The police financial investigation continued and on 19 September at Lewes Crown Court, Judge Scott-Gall ordered that the defendants pay a confiscation order totalling £68,800.

Detective Sergeant Pete Billin said; “The confiscation order, which results from the expert work of Geoff Thomas, will be used for the benefit of communities under the Government’s “Payback” scheme which is designed to remove the criminally obtained assets of criminals in order to prevent further offending and to benefit the communities who suffer at the expense of such criminals.”

The money confiscated by the court now goes to the central Government exchequer, but 50% of it then comes back to law enforcement. Of that 50%, one third goes to the Crown Prosecution Service, one third to HM Courts System and one third to police. The money that comes back to Sussex Police is used to help support the work of the force’s financial investigators, to fund searches on national commercial and statutory databases, for example the Land Registry and Companies House, and as donations to local Sussex-based crime reduction and diversion projects.

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