'Pay up' court tells members of Blackpool crime gang who flooded resort with drugs
Eight members of a drugs gang that brought misery to Blackpool's streets have been ordered to pay back some of their ill gotten gains.
Several criminals were arrested and convicted after Operation Jennet, an investigation into the large scale supply of cocaine and cannabis and money laundering on the Fylde coast.
During the probe, approximately six kilos of cocaine and a ¼ of a kilo of amphetamine - said to be worth around £700,000 - and £122,000 in cash were seized.
Preston Crown Court previously heard the organised crime group, headed by brothers Anthony and Bradley Gill, coordinated the supply of 'significant amounts' of class A and B drugs in the North West with accomplices.
During a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Burnley Crown Court, Judge Simon Medland QC made ordered seizing cash from the criminals.
The Gills' accomplice, Kevin Tonner, 38, of Preston Old Road, Blackpool - who is currently serving a lengthy jail term - was found to have benefitted by £676,003.66 and must pay £140.
Daniel Houghton, 40, of Warren Croft, Runcorn, who is serving nine years for money laundering and conspiracy to supply, was found to have benefitted by £343,286.90 and must pay £6,600 back
Steven Miller, 25, of Carr Road, Fleetwood, benefitted by £24,000 and has to pay £140.
Declan Morgan, 25, of Melville Road, Blackpool, benefitted by £174,162.50 and must pay £1.
Darren Atkinson, 40, of Norton Hill, Runcorn, who is serving nine and a half years, benefitted by £520,798.55 and must also pay £1.
Philip Bennet, 39, of Branstree Road, Blackpool, who is also serving nine and a half years, benefitted by £477,910.31 and must pay £40.
John Fullard, 34, of Whiteacre Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, is serving nine years and benefitted by £25,524.14. he must pay £20,260.
John Foy, 39, of Deysbrook Way, Liverpool, who is serving six and a half years, benefitted by £26,246.83 and must pay £4,124.
Anyone convicted of a crime can be ordered to pay in a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, in which a judge decides how much the person benefited by, and how much is available at present to seize in cash and assets. A defendant might face prison if they fail to pay.
If a defendant is found to have no assets, the court may make a nominal order of £1 - but the authorities can still revisit a person's finances in future.
Further financial proceedings will take place on December 6 against the Gill brothers, their sister Jessica Lang, 21, of Elgin Place, Grange Park; Daryl Wellings, 28, Rathmore Gardens, Blackpool; Bradley McSpirit, 29, of Wetherby Avenue, Blackpool; Blu Leahy, 24, of Powell Avenue, Blackpool; Jack Arnfield, 28, of Ribby Road, Kirkham, near Preston; James Foy, 24, of Formosa Way, Liverpool and John Casey, 31, of Seventh Avenue, Blackpool.