Nelson cannabis dealer must pay back £30,000

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A CANNABIS dealer who drove dangerously through the streets of Barrowford to try to escape from the police has been ordered to pay back £30,000 following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.

Howard Farnell (45), of Temple Street, Nelson, appeared at Burnley Crown Court on Friday.

The benefit of his criminality was set at £45,000 and he was ordered to pay £30,000 within six months or he will face a default prison sentence of 14 months.

Farnell was arrested after he sped off from police in the early hours of the morning on March 23rd, 2012.

He drove straight at the police car as officers followed him into Oaklands Avenue, causing the officer to swerve onto the other side of the road. Officers then found a carrier bag which Farnell had discarded containing £2,750-worth of cannabis resin.

He later pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, dangerous driving and failing to stop and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment which was suspended for 24 months and he was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Mr Adrian Crorken, financial investigator for Lancashire Constabulary, said: “POCA seizures allow us to take back cash from offenders which they have amassed through their criminal behaviour.

“We are able to seize cash, cars and even a person’s home if it is thought these items were used to facilitate carrying out crime or were bought with an offender’s ill gotten gains.

“POCA is one of many tools we are using to come down hard on criminals. I hope this sends out a warning, if we find you with cash that you cannot account for, you will be targeted.

“Courts do not deal with confiscations at sentencing and following a conviction Lancashire Constabulary dedicate a considerable amount of time to investigate the finances of people where we have reasonable suspicion could have obtained money illegally.”