Financial penalty for Lowestoft drug dealer
16:36 19 February 2014
A 33-year-old man, who was jailed for two years and four months after pleading guilty to drugs offences and possession of criminal property, has been ordered to pay back more than £16,800 following a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing.
Andrew Bridgewater, formerly of Lowestoft High Street, was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court on November 29 last year after pleading guilty to five offences – possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of heroin with intent to supply, being concerned in the supply of heroin, being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession of criminal property.
He was subject of the POCA confiscation hearing at the same court last Friday, February 14.
The court ordered that he should repay £16,803.54 deemed to be the proceeds of his crimes, while acknowledging only £835 was available at this stage.
The order means that should he come into money or assets at a later date it can be claimed back up to this total subject to another court hearing.
Bridgewater was arrested following a police operation in the Arnold Street and Godfrey Court area of Lowestoft on Friday, July 19 last year.
Officers from the Lowestoft-based Territorial Support Team saw a 30-year-old man in Arnold Street when he was approached by a 43-year-old man and an exchange took place. Police stopped the 30-year-old and he was arrested on suspicion of possession of a class A drug after several wraps were found on him while the 43-year-old was detained on suspicion of supplying a class A drug. Both of these men were later dealt with at court.
Officers then carried out a search at an address linked to the 43-year-old.
Andrew Bridgewater was found sitting at a table in the flat. The table had 18 wraps of crack cocaine and 12 wraps of heroin on it and he was arrested for being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
More heroin, scales with traces of drugs on, mobile phones, other paraphernalia and more than £700 in cash were found close by. This money, seized by police, has been immediately subject to the POCA confiscation – part of the £835 in cash and assets recovered.
Following his arrest, Bridgewater was the subject of a comprehensive investigation by financial investigators and the evidence they gathered was presented at the hearing last Friday, leading to the confiscation.
Alex Haverson, who was the officer in the case, said police had targeted drug dealing in the Arnold Street/Godfrey Court area after concerns were raised by locals.
He said: “A significant amount of class A drugs were recovered and the arrests of the user, runner and supplier were witnessed by members of the public. We received some positive feedback regarding the action and are pleased that Bridgewater has not only been given a prison term but will also have to pay financially for his crimes.”
Det Sgt Karl Storey, of the Territorial Support Team, said; “We will continue our work to target dealers in the town, as this also tackles linked anti-social behaviour and crime issues in the Lowestoft area. Anyone with information about drug dealing can call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555 111.”