Hampshire police has secured its largest ever criminal benefit payout after a convicted drug dealer was ordered pay more than £2m to the force.

Imtiaz Ali, 46, was told he would have to pay Hampshire Constabulary £2.3m within the next six months, or face another eight years in jail. Ali, from Kenley, Surrey, was found guilty of importing cannabis worth more than £350,000, following a trial at Winchester Crown Court in August 2009. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Ali’s crimes were uncovered by Hampshire detectives in October 2008 after a crate containing almost 120kg of cannabis was intercepted as it left fellow defendant Peter Humphrey’s business premises in Alton.

Humphrey, from Petersfield, was arrested the following day. Further investigation revealed that the crates were being shipped in from a bogus company in Holland.

Humphrey received 43 of the crates in total, between March 1 and October 28, 2008.

Ali and another man, Steven Berger, of Essex, were jailed for their role in importing the drugs. Now the drug trafficker has been ordered to pay back £2.3m – the amount he would have made over six years of criminal activity.