A MAN involved in producing cannabis “made a tidy profit” from a factory with the help of his ex-partner, a court heard.

Christopher Tame, 40, of Wallace Street, Shoebury, admitted producing cannabis after police officers raided a home in Westcliff and found 226 plants in the loft on September 15 last year.

The property was rented by architect Roy Laidlaw, 49, of High Street, Great Wakering, who admitted producing cannabis and abstracting electricity. He will be sentenced at a later date.

While Tame claims he only watered the plants, he appeared before Southend Crown Court facing charges of abstracting electricity, concealing criminal cash and transferring £20,000 in criminal cash to ex-partner Jessica Pope.

Pope, 38, of Broadclyst Gardens, Southend, is also standing trial accused of possession of criminal property.

Opening the trial yesterday, prosecutor Mark LR Mullins said evidence showed cash credits totalling £102,610 in Tame’s Nationwide bank account despite Tame not filing a tax return.

Mr Mullins said: “HMRC have confirmed he did not file a tax return in 2015. It is the prosecution’s case that this is evidence the money must be illegitimate.”

Jurors were shown footage of a sophisticated cannabis factory which used hydroponics with 16 high-powered bulbs. The footage showed that the electricity meters had been bypassed.

Mr Mullins added: “The prosecution submits that he was also responsible for extracting electricity worth £1,926. Our case is that he did more than just water the plants.

"We know he was making a tidy profit. He must have been aware the electricity meter was being bypassed.”

The jurors were then shown pictures of a bag containing £20,000 in cash which was found in Pope’s bedroom at a home in Thorpe Bay.

Mr Mullins read text messages between Tame and Pope, who have a child together, which suggested Pope was “keeping something illegitimate” for him.

He added: “We submit the cash must be the proceeds of drug dealing and Tame knew this because he had not declared any legitimate income that year.”

The trial continues