Kent Police report that two convicted drug dealers from Lower Halstow and Tonbridge have been warned they face additional prison sentences unless they pay back more than £170,000 from ill-gotten gains.

A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation established Robert Shearmur and Harry Darke retained assets of £170,000, after both men had been jailed for their roles in supplying wholesale quantities of cocaine and ketamine to other dealers.

They were sentenced in October 2022, having pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of drugs and money laundering offences. Shearmur, from Lower Halstow was jailed for 13-and-a-half years and Darke, from Tonbridge received 12 years.

Following these sentences, Kent Police made applications to Maidstone Crown Court for confiscation orders relating to both men. Financial investigators used powers contained within The Proceeds of Crime Act, which enables police to claw back money and assets which offenders have gained from their criminal activities. The legislation can be used again if the offenders comes into further assets.

On 26 April 2024, it was determined that Shearmur, 36, had benefited from his criminal conduct by £1,159,240. His current available assets amounted to £109,645, which included equity in his home and a crypto currency balance. On 15 May, the benefit for Darke, 29, was certified at £1,162,704. His current available assets were given at £59,991 and these were also in the form of property and crypto funds. Both men have been given three months to pay or face an additional prison sentence.

Kent Police also reported a further unrelated confiscation order which was heard on 15 May at Canterbury Crown Court, for a 26-year-old man, formerly from Ashford who received a suspended prison sentence in August 2023, for drug supply and money laundering offences. A Proceeds of Crime investigation established he had obtained a benefit of £111,948 and he has three months to pay his current available amount of £29,037 or incur a prison term of eight months.

Detective Inspector Dave Godfrey, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:

‘The supply of drugs can have devastating consequences within our communities, and it is therefore pleasing that the courts have been able to seize back significant sums of money accrued by these offenders.

‘The Proceeds of Crime Act continues to be a vital tool in tackling organised crime, as it enables us to prevent criminals from continuing to reap the benefits of their illegal activities even after they have been arrested, charged and jailed. Some of the money recovered at court will now be put back into our communities to help improve the service we give to the people of Kent.’

By Ed

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