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Woman who grew cannabis in Sussex home fined £45,000

Sally Peake had 50 plants in her home in Bexhill

A 50-year-old woman faces being jailed unless she repays tens of thousands of pounds she made by transforming her Sussex home into a cannabis factory.

Police officers discovered Sally Peake was growing the drug at her home in Seabourne Road, Bexhill, in 2011, when they smelled the aroma of the plant as they walked in the area, Lewes Crown Court heard.

Peake used an illegal electricity supply which cost over £220 a month to grow 50 cannabis plants in her garage.

Officers also found more than £5,000 worth of marijuana that had been cut from the trees and prepared for sale, as well as over £7,000, cannabis seeds, and a large quantity of the drug in the freezer.

Peake also had £55,000 in the bank, according to police.

It was estimated that the plants could produce £40,000 worth of cannabis a year.

Peake denied that she sold the drug, and insisted she grew it for her own use - smoking a joint a day. However the plants were producing more cannabis each month than Peake would use at that rate in a year. She pleaded guilty to charges including producing cannabis and was given a 16-month suspended prison sentence at the time.

But she must now pay £45,000 in six months or she could be jailed.

Detective Constable Carol Shoesmith said: "Peake was producing cannabis on an industrial scale.

"The court has now ordered her to pay tens of thousands of pounds as part of her punishment or she could be jailed.

"The production and selling of illegal drugs causes problems both in the community and in society in general and we will always investigate any information we are given about it," he added.