Jailed Tonbridge drugs dealer among criminals ordered to pay back money

Lee Colyer

KENT Police claimed back more than £4million of criminal money in 2016 and part of this was from a convicted Tonbridge drug dealer

Using Proceeds of Crime legislation, the county force secured 159 successful confiscation orders, with over £3million being recouped in the process. A further £1.1million was seized in cash forfeiture orders.

Police can apply for a confiscation order following a conviction to deprive criminals of benefits resulting from their crimes. The money goes toward reimbursing victims of crime, central government, the Courts Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and Kent Police.

The legislation was used to order the drug dealer from Tonbridge to pay back £5,234 of unlawful earnings.

Gareth Bourne, 35 appeared in Maidstone Crown Court on February 2, 2016, and was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

It was determined that Bourne had benefitted from his crimes by £8,025. His current available assets were valued at £5,234, consisting of £4,000 in seized cash and a Mercedes he owned. Bourne had three months to pay or face an additional prison sentence.

The police power extends to those who have not been charged with a crime, but are believed to have benefitted from unlawful activity. These are known as forfeiture orders.

Financial investigators will look at bank accounts, houses, vehicles and valuables, even if legally held, to determine if they could be used to pay back the amount they benefitted from the crime. Once an order is issued, it must be paid, even if a prison sentence has been served for the crime.

Detective Kevin Barton, of Kent Police’s Serious Economic Crime Unit said: “No one should be allowed to benefit financially from committing crime and we have again used this legislation to ensure criminals like Bourne are made to pay back money they have made through illegal activities.”

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