orders Burnham-On-Sea drug dealer to hand over £2,300
drug-dealer from Burnham-On-Sea has been ordered to pay for his
crimes by handing back more than £2,000 which he gained
illegally from the sale of drugs.
Eric Freeman, 47, has been ordered to pay £2,335 during
a Confiscation Hearing at Taunton Crown Court after a financial
investigation found he had profited from his illegal activities.
Freeman was originally arrested in April for possession with
intent to supply illegal drugs after being approached by a police
officer and seen to attempt to discard a quantity of amphetamine.
He was found to be in possession of a large quantity of the substance,
as well as digital scales used by drug dealers and over £1,400
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison in September and has
now also been ordered to pay back money deemed to have been acquired
through his offences.
orders force criminals to sell assets such as houses and cars
or repay money which the court deems to have been acquired through
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) once an offender
has been convicted, police and the courts can investigate their
finances and ascertain how much the offender has acquired through
their criminal activity wealth and assets they cannot account
for from legitimate sources.
The courts then impose an order forcing the offender to pay
the sum within a certain period of time using any property or
assets they hold. The POCA also means that offenders cannot protect
their cash and assets by signing them over to a spouse or family
DC Mark Schofield, from Taunton Police station, who led the initial
investigation told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "There was considerable
evidence that Mr Freeman was dealing drugs to residents in Highbridge
and Burnham-On-Sea so we are obviously pleased that he is unable
to do so for some time."
"I hope the result of the confiscation hearing today and
his previous conviction sends a clear message that drug dealing
will not be tolerated and that crime doesn't pay. We will not
let criminals profit from their activities."
dealing impacts heavily on communities and often leads to misery
for local residents either in the form of anti-social behaviour
in and around the addresses of dealers or in other forms of crime
that are undertaken to fund habits. We will continue to take a
robust stance against it."
And Dr Kirstie Cogram, head of the Constabulary's Financial Investigation
Unit, added: "This order should send out a clear message
to criminals that we will ensure that crime does not pay and that
we will continue to strip assets away from those that profit from
"One in seven of us knows someone who is living off the
proceeds of crime. People who enjoy the good-life, expensive holidays
and flash cars and fund this through crime and the suffering of
Police would like to hear from anyone who has information about
illegal drug dealing activity by calling 101 or Crimestoppers
anonymously on 0800 555 111.