A couple have been ordered to pay back the £57,000 they made from the production of drugs.
David Chapman, 52, and his girlfriend Bussakorn Rea, 41, were given confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) at Chichester Crown Court in July. Chapman is required to pay £37,413.72, and Rea must pay £20,143.99. Both were given six months to pay and if they fail to do so will be liable to prison sentences of a further 12 months each, and will still have to pay.
On November 7, 2011, police executed warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act at addresses in Littlehampton Road and Rose Walk, Worthing.
A search at the Littlehampton Road property, owned by Chapman, found 88 cannabis plants being grown in the loft, the electricity having been bypassed. Also seized was a quantity of herbal cannabis, grip seal bags, £380 in cash, and a quantity of cocaine.
At Rose Walk, Chapman’s family home, cash totalling £1,975 was found wrapped in a plastic bag outside a bedroom window, and an outbuilding in the garden of this property showed signs of having previously been used to grow cannabis although no plants were found.
Information was received leading officers to an address Salvington Road, Worthing, linked to Chapman through Rea. Twenty-four cannabis plants were being grown in the loft, again the electricity had been bypassed. A quantity of cocaine and herbal cannabis was also found along with £1,000 in cash.
On October 1, 2014, at Chichester Crown Court, Chapman pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and possession of criminal property and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years imprisonment.
Rea pleaded guilty to allowing her address to be used for production and was sentenced to ten months imprisonment.
Financial analysis showed a dramatic increase in cash deposits to Rea’s bank account around the time she started dating Chapman, until she was arrested.
Funds seized by the courts through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders go to the central Government exchequer. However a proportion of this is returned to law enforcement.
POCA-derived funding is distributed equally between the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable. Sussex Police receive 50 per cent cash back from cash forfeitures and 18.75 per cent cash back from seized confiscation orders.
The force currently employs an extra six Financial Investigators and two Financial Intelligence Officers from part of these funds to continue the fight in seizing criminal assets, with the remainder being used to support crime reduction and diversion projects.
Detective Inspector Mick Richards of the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit said; “This is another of the way in which wherever possible we now target not just the criminals but also the profits of their crimes, whether they are from drug dealing or any other form of criminal activity.”
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