Beccles man ordered to pay £91,000 after drug trafficking and evasion of duty

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

More than £90,000 has been confiscated from a 62-year-old Suffolk man convicted of drug trafficking and evasion of duty.

Trevor Cairns, of Laurels End, in Beccles, was ordered to pay £91,000 as part of a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, following a joint investigation by Suffolk Police and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Service (HMRC).

The hearing followed a conviction for drug trafficking and evasion of duty offences in July 2012.

In September 2011, officers found £13,000 worth of cannabis, £5,000 in cash and large amounts of tobacco and cigarettes at his home, and he was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.

Police returned later that month with HMRC and found further tobacco and cigarettes, and vehicles worth £17,000 were seized under the Customs and Excise Management Act. He was then arrested on suspicion of evasion of excise duty and money laundering.

Cairns was charged with six offences, and pleaded guilty to two drug trafficking offences and two offences of evasion of duty spanning a 12-month period.

He appeared at Ipswich Crown Court in July 2012 and was sentenced to a year's imprisonment.

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The order to pay back £91,000 must be settled within three months or he will face a further term of imprisonment of up to two years.

Andy Gould, who leads the Suffolk Police Financial Investigation Unit, said: 'The Financial Investigation Unit in Suffolk strives to ensure that those who commit crime and benefit financially will be forced to pay back the profits they have made from their activities.

'This case in particular demonstrates that by applying the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, we can ensure that criminals do not prosper from acting dishonestly and will be brought to justice.

'I hope this serves as a warning to those who choose to engage in these crimes, that the possession and supply of drugs can not only result in a custodial sentence, but also severe financial penalties.'