Worcester drug dealer has to pay back £74,000 - The Worcester Observer

Worcester drug dealer has to pay back £74,000

Worcester Editorial 1st Dec, 2022   0

A WORCESTER drug dealer has been ordered to repay more than £74,000 as proceeds of crime after being convicted of importing herbal cannabis from the United States of America.

Andrew Court, 33, of Nailsworth Close was convicted of possession with intent to supply Class B Drugs in September 2021 at Worcester Crown Court. In December 2021 he was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment.

In December 2018 officers from the UK Border Agency Royal Mail logistics centre in Berkshire, identified a suspect package which they believed to contain drugs.

The package was addressed to the defendant at his home address in Worcester. The package had been sent from an address in Los Angeles and the contents were described as a wooden toy set.

When the package was opened it was found to contain two heat sealed clear plastic bags with tins inside. A field test was carried out and it was confirmed that the tins contained a total of 128 grams of herbal cannabis.

In June 2019 police officers attended Court’s address where they found and arrested him, and a search of the premises was carried out.

Officers seized £14,947.91 cash in two small boxes, 15 ounces of cannabis, deal bags, electronic scales and other drugs paraphernalia, electronic items such as an iPhone and iPad, large quantities of designer footwear, including multiple pairs of assorted training shoes, and Armani and Gucci bags.

In addition, officers recovered two bitcoin cash receipts and an A4 size piece of paper containing numbers and a list of 24 seemingly random words.

Further enquiries established that the words were in fact a cryptocurrency recovery seed (a list of words in a specific order) which stores all the information that is required to recover the contents of a cryptocurrency wallet.

It was identified that the value of cryptocurrency in the wallet was worth approximately £10k. West Mercia’s Economic Crime Unit were able to secure a Restraint Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This meant that all of the seized property would be protected from dissipation by the defendant, Court and could be used to pay any subsequent confiscation order.

Court was further arrested in March and April 2020 for unrelated offences. Two further amounts of cash (£9,692.18 & £1,125.72) were seized and are also detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

On 18 November 2022 at Worcester Crown Court, a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, was made whereby the total benefit figure from the crime was agreed to be £74,370.00.

Due to the amount of assets seized and held by police, the amount Court was found to have available was £74,370.00, which he has been ordered to pay within 3 months, otherwise he will be sentenced to a period of three years imprisonment in default of payment.

Det Insp Emma Wright, of the West Mercia’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “This case demonstrates those who commit serious crimes such as drug supply will be tackled by West Mercia Police and other partner agencies; both by bringing them to justice and by removing the proceeds of the crime.

“This case also represents the first in West Mercia where cryptocurrency has been seized and will now be used to pay off a Confiscation Order.

“Whilst criminals may think they can hide the proceeds of their criminality in virtual currencies, this shows police will locate or trace these and ultimately remove them.”


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