Payback time for criminal

THE long arm of the law has finally caught up with a Suffolk criminal, leaving him �118,000 poorer today.

HOLBROOK: The long arm of the law has finally caught up with a Suffolk criminal, leaving him �118,000 poorer today.

The figure includes a five-figure sum in interest, accumulated after payments from Nathaniel Leheup were delayed for more than two years.

Law enforcement agencies persisted in chasing Leheup in order to get the 58-year-old to hand over the money he made from his crimes.

Despite the slow progress in satisfying a Proceeds of Crime order, officers said their relentless pursuit of the money he owed sends out a powerful message to others who have similar court orders

Leheup, formerly of Holbrook, was originally told to repay �105,000 which was deemed to be the amount he made from handling stolen goods.

However, Leheup, now of Romney Marsh, Kent, eventually ended up having to find an additional �13,500 in interest after delaying payment of the money he owed. In total, the drawn-out saga has cost him �118,518.36.

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Suffolk Constabulary temporary detective superintendent Steve Mattin said: “Not only does this reinforce the message that crime does not pay, it shows the public that we will pursue relentlessly any criminals who are enjoying a lifestyle derived from crime.

“This result represents the hard work, patience and determination of the police financial investigators and CPS lawyers.

“I hope this sends out a clear message to the public and to those who engage in any type of criminal activity that we can, and will, seize their assets if they have been funded by crime”

Leheup was convicted of handling stolen goods on January 22, 2007. Following his conviction, a confiscation hearing on October 25, 2007 at Ipswich Crown Court ordered Leheup to pay back the sum of �105,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). He was given six months to pay or face three years in prison. However, delays in selling off assets led to frustration from enforcement agencies. Ultimately Leheup came up with the money and has now satisfied the order made against him in full.

A spokesman for Suffolk's Criminal Justice Board said Suffolk Police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and her Majesty's Court Service were determined to pursue the money.

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