A MAN who ran numerous cannabis production sites in Worthing and Littlehampton, which made him hundreds of thousands of pounds, has been sent to prison for three years.
Tak Lok Fung, 57, of Rowlands Road, Worthing, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday, March 14, after a trial in which he was convicted of producing cannabis at five addresses in Littlehampton and Worthing between 2006 and 2009.
Fung also faces a court hearing which could strip him of his criminal profits.
Suspicions about his involvement came to light in 2007 after a court bailiff visited an address in Pier Road, Littlehampton, to repossess the property. Two men, Kwok Kau Wan, 43, and Yuan Zhan, 26, were found removing cannabis. A further property in Gloucester Place was linked to the pair and cannabis was found growing at the address. Both men pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis and were sentenced to 22 months imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court in November 2007.
Police investigations at the time found the properties had been rented by Fung, who could not be traced.
In July 2009, following the report of an insecure window by a concerned neighbour, police found a further cannabis factory in a rented property in Northfield Road, Worthing. The house contained nearly 200 cannabis plants, with evidence that plants had also recently been harvested. Investigations established Fung also rented this property and he was then found and arrested.
Sussex Police said an extensive and complex enquiry uncovered Fung’s involvement in further sites in Alverstone Road and Graham Road, Worthing, where cannabis had been grown.
It is estimated Fung’s Northfield Road site, which was clearly in the course of production when police struck, could have yielded up to £290,000 worth of skunk – high strength cannabis – every year.
Fung was also convicted of laundering £103,596 through bank accounts which were proceeds from the cannabis factories.
Police financial investigators will put together a case against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to seek a court order to strip him of the profits of his criminality.
Detective Constable Annette Woodland said: “Fung’s illicit empire began to unravel when an alert member of the public reported an insecurity to police. This shows how information from the public can help detect crime. Wherever possible we will relentlessly pursue criminals even beyond their sentences to strip them of their illicit profits and plough them back into the community and law enforcement.”