May 21 2013 Latest news:
Friday, February 15, 2013
A man who fled to Mexico to evade justice has been jailed for more than nine years for his part in a “sophisticated” money laundering and drugs operation in Thetford.
Colin Mark Hargreaves, of Bethnal Green, London, left the country shortly before he was due to go to court in August, 2011.
He gave himself up in November, 2012, after 15 months on the run and appeared before Norwich Crown Court on Thursday where he was sentenced to nine years and six months in jail.
Hargreaves had been found guilty of money laundering and drugs offences after a week-long trial held in his absence in the August.
Det Con Simon Stephenson of King’s Lynn CID, said: “Hargreaves did everything possible to try to evade capture and being put before the courts.
“This is the end of a case which spanned a number of years and sees the final member of the operation finally face justice.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this case which goes some way to providing reassurance to members of the public.
“The targeting of individuals involved in the supply of illegal drugs remains a priority for Norfolk Constabulary and we will continue to focus our energy on disrupting this activity.”
Thermal imaging cameras had highlighted an issue around heat above factory units in Roman Way, Thetford, in early December 2009 and officers from the Protective Services Tactical Crime Unit carried out a raid later that month.
During the search they discovered more than 750 cannabis plants growing in two units and what police called a “sophisticated” hydroponics network with plants in all stages of development.
The money laundering charges related to a £10,000 motorbike bought between April 2006 and April 2009, a ring costing nearly £23,000, a holiday home in Sussex and possession of nearly £340,000 of cash between 2004 and 2010.
The drugs offences included conspiracy to produce controlled drugs, namely cannabis, between 2008 and 2009, and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply in July 2010.
Three other men pleaded guilty to drugs and money laundering offences in December 2010 while a further two women were found guilty of money laundering in August 2011.
Police in Norwich have launched an investigation after a woman claimed in a tweet she had knocked a cyclist off their bike.
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