Eastbourne drug dealer ordered to pay up – or face jail

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An Eastbourne drug dealer who bought a swanky Audi car with his criminal proceeds has been told to pay up £12,420 – or be jailed.

On June 27 last year police in Eastbourne executed a series of drugs warrants, in what is known as Operation Gryphus.

Robert Glass, also known as Leon Smith, now 31, was arrested by detectives in Eastbourne on July 7 as part of the investigation. After consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service he was charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession with intent to supply heroin, and with acquiring and using criminal property, which is money laundering.

Glass appeared at Brighton Crown Court on December 17 and was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years, a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement for six months, a Supervision Requirement for 18 months, and was charged court costs of £100.

The court also issued a Forfeiture and Destruction Order for the drugs.

But that was not end of the story for Glass. Following work by expert police financial investigators, a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) application was prepared and on May 30 this year a member of staff from the East Sussex Financial Investigation team went to Hove Crown Court to lay the information.

The court heard that the Glass owned an expensive Audi car at the time of his arrest and deemed that it was bought with the proceeds of his criminal lifestyle.

He was ordered to pay a total of £12,420.00 within six months or he will be sent to prison for eight months and he will still have to pay the money owed upon his release. The car was not confiscated.

Detective Constable Paul Gray said, “This is yet another example of the excellent use of POCA legislation and sends a clear message to drug dealers in East Sussex that if you commit drug related crimes, you will be made to pay for your actions.

“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.

“It can take time and each investigation is subject of an application for a court-authorised confiscation order. Criminals need to know that where we think they have profits, hidden though they may be, we don’t give up after sentencing. Financial investigation is increasingly at the heart of all criminal investigation.

“Any money confiscated and put into the national exchequer is ploughed back to support further financial investigations and also into the wider community through worthwhile local projects.

“That money forfeited goes first to the central Government exchequer, but 50 per cent of it then comes back to law enforcement. Part of that forfeited cash returned to Sussex Police is used to help support the work of the force’s financial investigators, and as donations to local Sussex-based crime reduction and diversion projects.”

The force supported 13 projects last year with moneys returned from previous years through grants under the Sussex Police Community Cashback initiative, in partnership with Sussex Community Foundation.