March 10 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
A 75-year-old bootlegger caught selling cigarettes and alcohol from the back of his van must repay the £47,000 he made on the black market.
William Walker, who lived in semi-sheltered housing in Beetons Way, Bury St Edmunds, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work, by Ipswich Crown Court in March last year.
However, his case has now been back in court for a proceeds of crime hearing during which a confiscation order was made compelling him to hand over his bootlegging profits.
Walker was caught in October 2011 when police were called to a pub in Bury St Edmunds town centre after a report that a man nearby was selling duty-free alcohol and tobacco products from the rear of a van.
When officers arrived Walker was found to be in possession of the vehicle with significant quantities of alcohol and tobacco inside.
He was arrested and taken to the Bury St Edmunds police investigation centre (PIC). A search was conducted at his home during which a large sum of cash was located.
Leanne Middleton, a financial investigator at the PIC, was aware of Walker’s arrest and decided to attend the address where she noticed further significant quantities of alcohol and tobacco.
The cash, later found to be £63,000, was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
After Walker’s confiscation hearing Andy Gould, of Suffolk and Norfolk’s joint economic crime unit, said: ”This very satisfactory outcome is entirely due to the presence of our specialist financial investigators who are located within the police investigation centres across the two counties.
“That early intervention in this particular investigation has led to the conviction of a man who had been committing offences over a sustained period, and the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation has been used once more to drive home the message that crime doesn’t pay “
Walker was convicted after denying two charges of dealing with goods which were chargeable with a duty with fraudulent intent between October 2010 and October 2011
He had made 22 trips to Europe in a year to stock up on duty-free tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol which he then sold for a profit.
During Walker’s trial it was said he had made 125 trips from Dover to Calais over a five-year period.