Criminals’ ill-gotten gains to be paid back

TWO men have been stripped of some of the proceeds of their crimes following their convictions for conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Brett Moor, 33, of St Helens Road, and Peter Booth, 39, of Seaside Road, St Leonards, were jailed last year having admitted to dealing the illegal class A substance.

Police had kept watch at Lower Wiltings Farm, St Leonards, where Moor had rented a space in which the drugs were stored and prepared to be sold on the streets of Hastings.

Booth had posed as a nursing home worker to buy homeopathic remedies in bulk to act as a cutting agent which is used to mix in with the drug. Fingerprints and DNA evidence linked the pair to the drugs.

Police seized 1.6 kilos of the Class A drug. The men were convicted at Lewes Crown Court in January last year and sentenced to five and four years imprisonment respectively.

Both men appeared again at Lewes Crown Court at a Proceeds of Crime hearing last Thursday (May 10). A Sussex Police financial investigator had discovered that Moor had criminally benefited to the value of £200,000 and Booth to the value of £59,000.

Despite the pair’s efforts to frustrate the confiscation process, identified assets of £35,000 were ordered to be repaid by Moor and £1,080 from Booth.

Moor has six months to pay or face a further 12-month prison sentence. Booth has three months to pay or face a further 21-day sentence in default.

They will still be liable to pay the debt after they are both released from prison.

Detective Sergeant Mick Richards, of the Sussex Police Money Laundering Team, said: “We are pleased that this process has now been concluded. The debt will remain with Moor and Booth until paid in full.

“Despite their best efforts to disguise their assets, our investigations confirmed that they profited from their criminality and identified substantial assets that will now have to be repaid.”

The money is now confiscated by the courts and goes to the central Government exchequer, but 50 per cent of it then comes back to law enforcement.

Of that 50 per cent, one third goes to the Crown Prosecution Service, one third to HM Courts System and one third to police.

The money that comes back to Sussex Police is used to help support the work of the force’s financial investigators, to fund searches on national commercial and statutory databases.

For example the Land Registry and Companies House, and as donations to local Sussex-based crime reduction and diversion projects in the community.