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3 October 2013, 06:00
Seven convicted drug traffickers have been ordered to pay almost half a million pounds.
The Proceeds of Crime hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday 30 September followed a lengthy investigation and operation into a group that distributed cannabis throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex the North West and North East regions.
The group of men was sentenced in January this year. In total, around two tonnes of cannabis was recovered in the operation and the offenders sentenced to 22 years in prison.
The court ordered that a total of £496,428.36 should be paid back by the offenders.
It will be split between the offenders.
David William Howard aged 38 from Warren Bottom Cottages, Erwarton was ordered to pay back £359,983.06. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs and money laundering and was sentenced to seven years in jail. He has been given 10 months to pay back the money.
Four other individuals Kerr John Smith aged 52 from Lawrence Place in Foxley, Jonathan Bird aged 38 from Longdell Hill in Norwich, Gary Sherman aged 40 from Ipswich Avenue of Sutton in Woodbridge and Jonathan Roberts aged 34 from Cowdray Avenue in Colchester were each ordered to pay back £38,417.28, £34,906.20, £31,172.96 and £29,494.00 respectively.
Robert Anthony Moore, aged 41 from Ingrams Piece in Ardleigh in Essex was ordered to pay back £2,091.47 and Ivan Patten aged 25 from Tovells Road in Ipswich was ordered to pay £363.39.
Speaking after the Proceeds of Crime hearing, Detective Inspector Liz Fernandes of the Eastern Region Asset Recovery Team said they are committed to ensuring that where persons are convicted of criminal offences they are not allowed to benefit from those crimes.
She said: "[We] will continue to pursue these criminals across the Eastern Region and we will do all that we can to strip criminals of the very things that motivated them to engage in crime in the first instance.”