£2 Million Of Criminal Assets To Pay Back

28 February 2011, 16:39 | Updated: 8 March 2011, 11:38

Three people have been ordered to pay £1.2 million under Proceeds of Crime legislation at a hearing today at Ipswich Crown Court. Combined with a previous settlement for the same operation, this is the largest POCA settlement ever for Suffolk Police, of more than £2 million.

On 29th September 2008 Suffolk Police led a search of the Ponderosa scrapyard on Bridge End Road, Red Lodge. It was the biggest operation of its kind in Suffolk that year, and involved dozens of Suffolk officers and staff including search teams, Scenes of Crime Officers, CID and local officers, plus regional police resources. In addition partners from the Department of Work and Pensions, the Environment Agency, DVLA, HM Revenue and Customs, VOSA, the Health and Safety Executive, Suffolk Trading Standards, EDF Energy, British Telecom, British Transport Police, Network Rail and the UK Border Agency all assisted.

The two-acre site took two days to search, and included a scrap yard, house and outbuildings. It led to more than £735,000 being recovered and items of plant seized. Several stolen vehicles were also recovered, which came from a number of locations across East Anglia.

Offences on the site were identified under Immigration, Health and Safety and Revenue and Customs legislation, and Suffolk Police’s investigation led to charges being brought against Robert, Harold and Bernadette McGivern and Noel Healy.

In September 2009 41-year-old Robert McGivern was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court of Money Laundering, Fraud and Handling Stolen Goods and sentenced to five and a half years in prison. In September 2010 a confiscation hearing ordered him to pay back criminal assets of £851,000.

In November 2009 71-year-old Bernadette McGivern, 68-year-old Harold McGivern, and and 79-year-old Noel Healywere given suspended sentences after admitting money laundering offences. Today, Monday 28th February 2010, they have been ordered to pay £1.2 million; making a total of £2.051 million for the whole operation when combined with Robert McGivern’s order. Suffolk Constabulary will receive a percentage of this settlement to reinvest in investigations of this nature.

Detective Superintendent Chris Mayhew said, "Bernadette McGivern, Harold McGivern and Noel Healy cheated the tax system in respect of properties in London, and benefited from this here in Suffolk. This case demonstrates the extent to which organised crime can cross borders and impact on the lives of people across the country. We believe that Operation Basil has disrupted criminal activity in West Suffolk and further afield, and this case should serve as a warning to organised groups that they will be caught, prosecuted and their proceeds of crime seized.

The vast sum confiscated, the largest ever order granted to Suffolk Constabulary, reflects the level of criminal enterprise in this case, and the hard work of Police Financial Investigators and CPS lawyers.
This money can now be returned to its rightful place in the public purse, to be spent where it is genuinely needed rather than funding the lifestyles of those with a blatant disregard for the law."