A MAN who ran a cannabis factory in Ferndown has been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds after police identified his offshore bank accounts.

Brendan Kavanagh, 47, has been ordered to pay back £125,248 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Kavanagh, of Hesketh Close, St Ives, near Ringwood, was handed a three-year jail term at Bournemouth Crown Court in 2012 for cultivating 135 cannabis plants at Maple Business Park, Ferndown Industrial Estate.

The plants had a street value of up to £37,000, and were maintained with a hydroponic watering system.

A confiscation investigation was launched by officers from Dorset Police’s Economic Crime Unit and confiscation order was made at Bournemouth Crown Court on March 14.

Kavanagh stated that he had no assets, but offshore bank accounts were revealed during the investigation.

He was ordered to pay the full amount within six months. If he fails to pay he will serve a two-year default custodial sentence, after which he will still owe the debt.

DS Andrew Kennard, of the Dorset Police economic crime unit, said: “This case is yet another excellent example of how Dorset Police can help take assets away from criminals.

“This case sends out a very clear message to offenders that they will be dealt with through the courts and forced to hand over the illegal earnings made from their criminal activity.”

During his sentencing two years ago, a court heard that the last electricity bill for the unit at the business park had been between £800 and £900.

The unit had been rented for £3,000 a year by Kavanagh, who admitted producing the drug.

Judge Samuel Wiggs told him: “You were running a substantial factory for the production of cannabis. It may have been financed by others but you had a significant role.”