A KIDDERMINSTER businessman who pocketed £117,000 from the cannabis factory he ran at his rented £1.75 million South Staffordshire mansion before fleeing the country has been ordered to pay back just £13,000 from his ill-gotten gains.
Steven Rodenhurst, a retired demolition and salvage company boss, went on the run to Goa after being found guilty at the end of his trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
The 58-year-old was convicted by a jury of producing cannabis with intent to supply and he was then remanded on conditional bail for a pre-sentence report but Rodenhurst then disappeared and, in his absence, he was jailed by Judge Martin Walsh for four and a half years with a warrant for his arrest not backed for bail already in existence.
Rodenhurst, who operated from an address in Beeches Road, Kidderminster and at the seven-bedroomed mansion in Codsall, near Wolverhampton, has been in touch with his solicitors from Goa.
The Judge was told, however, the fugitive, who had been renting the luxury Stafford Lane property for eight years, had not made any plans to return to the United Kingdom.
The Judge was told at a Proceeds of Crime Hearing that Rodenhurst had benefitted to the tune of £117,255 from the cannabis farm he operated at Greenhills, the mansion that stands in 20 acres.
An order was then made for the seizure of £13,033, which had been seized from bank accounts belonging to Rodenhurst, who was found hiding in the mansion when police raided the property and found over 1,000 cannabis plants.