A 45-YEAR-OLD cannabis producer has been given until January to repay more than £340,000 - or face an additional three years in jail.

Matthew Whitehead, of Wigtwizzle Barn, Bolsterstone, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison in August 2011 after plants with an estimated street value of £31,000 were discovered at a property he owned in Cawthorne.

A proceeds of crime investigation found Whitehead made £343,738.43 from the venture and, following a hearing at Doncaster Crown Court, he must repay the sum within six months or risk having his sentence almost doubled.

Graham Wragg, manager of South Yorkshire Police's economic crime unit, said: "The cultivation, use of and after effects of drugs continues to be a problem for police forces and society in general.

"Matthew Whitehead was obviously making a substantial profit from this enterprise, and it's only right that he should be made to pay back his profits.

"I hope this will send out a warning message to anyone involved or contemplating committing crimes of this nature."

Whitehead was arrested in November 2010 at the Cawthorne property, which contained 22 fully-grown cannabis plants and evidence of a harvested crop.

He pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis in 2011 and a proceeds of crime act confiscation was set by the judge to investigate his finances.