TWO men jailed for setting up a cannabis farm in an uninhabited house have been ordered to pay just £1 each in crime proceeds.

Matthew Soutar succumbed to pressure to develop the operation at the property in The Grove, Consett, due to a £3,000 drug debt.

He fitted the three-bedroom property, in Thornfield Road with sophisticated growing paraphernalia, assisted by friend Nyall Neilson.

Durham Crown Court heard the bypassing of the electricity meter enabled £6,692 free power to be accessed, leading to the police to visit, in September, 2017.

A total of 93 plants, were recovered from three bedrooms, with a potential yield of £18,600-plus in sale terms.

Soutar, whose name the property went under, contacted police and admitted responsibility for the grow and bypassing the meter.

He initially claimed the cannabis being grown was for his own use, but later abandoned that explanation.

Soutar, 25, of James Terrace, Coronation, and Neilson, 26, of Oxford Street, Eldon Lane, both near Bishop Auckland, each admitted producing a class B drug, while Soutar also admitted abstracting electricity.

Mark Styles, for Soutar, said due to his debt he was presented with the ultimatum of mounting the operation in lieu of payment.

Graeme Cook, for Neilson, said he was only involved to help his friend.

Soutar, who was previously unconvicted, was jailed for 20-months, in February, when an 18-month sentence was imposed on Neilson.

They both appeared back in court for a Proceeds of Crime hearing via video link from HMP Kirkham, in Preston, where they are serving their sentences.

The total benefit from the operation was put at £31,914, in Soutar’s case and £24,689 for Neilson.

But as both were said to have “no available amount” in assets, nominal £1sums were agreed for confiscation.