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28th Nov, 2021

Drug dealer's earnings confiscated under Proceeds of Crime Act

A DRUG dealer who had more than £3,000 in cash in a cupboard has had just £750 of it confiscated after insisting the money was the proceeds of betting on football matches.

Antony Almond is currently serving a 26-month prison term after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court last year to possessing heroin with intent to supply it.

Almond, 55, of Herdwick Court, Murray Road, said he bought the drug in bulk and then sold it in individual deals to fellow addicts to support his own habit.

He denied that £3,390 in cash found in a cupboard at his home was the proceeds from his dealing, explaining that it had come from betting on football matches.

So a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation into his finances.

At the resumed hearing prosecutor Ben Close said it had been assessed that Almond’s benefit from his dealing was £750, based on the value of the heroin seized when he was arrested.

And even though all of the money was liable to be forfeited, that was the amount he asked to be confiscated.

And Judge Barry Berlin ordered the £750 to be paid from the £3,390 which is still held by the police within 28 days, with Almond facing a further 14 days in prison in default.

During the original hearing Mr Close said that in January 2019 police officers carried out a search at Almond’s home and immediately saw a piece of tin foil with a tar-like residue on it.

Almond, whose 71 previous convictions included three for possessing heroin, admitted he had been smoking ‘brown,’ a slang name for heroin, and that there was more in a pot on the coffee table.

In the pot the officers found just over 7.1 grams of heroin, which Mr Close said would be enough to make 72 £10 deals.

Elsewhere in the flat they found digital scales, some cannabis – although Almond was not charged in relation to that – and two smaller amounts of heroin worth a further £30.

And in a cupboard they discovered £3,390 in cash, which Almond maintained was the proceeds of betting on football matches, rather than from his dealing.

Messages on Almond’s phone showed he had been dealing in heroin since early November 2018, and he pleaded guilty to that on the basis that he was selling it to a group of friends to support his own habit, but did not sell to strangers.

Colin Charvill, defending, said Almond’s dealing had been limited to five or six people, and his benefit from that would be ‘considerably less’ than the cash confiscated by the police.

Mr Charvill said: “He is one of the older people who come before the court for this type of offence.

“He has a long history of the use of class A drugs. He was selling directly to a limited number of users. He was not street-dealing to strangers.

“He buys drugs and sells sufficient to cover his purchase of the bulk. He was selling to people he knows, people who, like him, smoke the drug rather than inject it.”

Jailing Almond in August last year, Judge Peter Cooke had told him: “You were doing what you were doing, not on any large scale, I accept, motivated by financial gain.

“You certainly weren’t hanging around the school gates trying to get kids addicted. You were an addict yourself, trying to make a bit of money on the side selling to other people who were addicted to it.

“But I am still dealing with you for dealing one of the most damaging and pernicious drugs on the market.”

 

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