A MAN jailed after being caught with thousands of pounds worth of drugs and cannabis plants has had a property he owns taken from him by the courts.

Daniel Gilbert was jailed for 20 months in August last year after a judge heard how he had been involved in a £40,000 drugs racket.

It came after police stopped a car driven by Gilbert at the junction of Romsey Road and Coxford Road, Southampton, and in the foot well recovered about 1.84 kilos of skunk cannabis.

It would have been worth about £23,000 if dealt. They later searched his home and discovered 24 young cannabis plants.

Their yield would have been worth about £20,000 if fully grown. Gilbert, 40, of Chestnut Road, Shirley Warren, had admitted possessing cannabis and being concerned in its production but insisted he had acted as a “custodian” for the drugs rather than as a dealer.

But now, using the Proceeds of Crime Act, judge Derwin Hope has ordered that he sells his small terrace house in Pentre, in South Wales and forfeit £1,620 of cash found by police because he ruled Gilbert, who has scores of previous convictions, had been profiting from his criminal lifestyle.

If he does not pay up he is going back to jail for 14 months.

Gilbert told a confiscation hearing at Southampton Crown Court that he was simply keeping the drugs for dealers.

After being caught by police, the court heard how dealers had come round and beat him up because they had been left out of pocket after police seized their drugs. Gilbert said this forced him to borrow money to pay them back and that now he is penniless.

He said: “I have been extorted by drug dealers and now am being pressurised by the Crown for something I never had. It is soul destroying.”

He said a large part of more than £20,000 of money coming into his NatWest bank account had been to do with small scale second-hand car dealing – however was unable to explain all the transactions and said he dealt mostly in cash and did not use banks.

During this period, he claimed, he was under the influence of strong painkillers following a car accident in May 2010 that had left him hobbling about on crutches to this day.

Ordering Gilbert to hand the state £26,620, Judge Hope said: “It is an all too familiar tale for anyone foolish enough to be involved with drug dealers.” Gilbert was given six months to sell his house.