Drug criminals ordered to pay confiscation order of over £2.7 million


Drug gang leader David Barnes and his co-defendants Michael Woodage, Christopher Wills and Nigel Hyland were ordered to pay a confiscation order of nearly three million pounds at Bristol Crown Court on Friday 17 February.

The defendants were all convicted of conspiracy to supply cannabis and sent to prison in July 2010 following the discovery of ten tonnes of skunk cannabis at a farm near Swindon in April 2009.

David Barnes, the ring leader was ordered to serve a 12 years' sentence.

 Ian Harris, Head of the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wessex said: "People commit this sort of crime to make money and it is our duty as Crown Prosecutors to apply for confiscation order to take that money away from them. We made an application to Bristol Crown Court on Friday and as a result the judge has ordered the defendants to pay a confiscation totalling more than £2,750,000.

'The judge told David Barnes that he had six months to pay £2,652,925. If he fails to do so he will have to serve an additional eight years' imprisonment on top of the twelve years' sentence he is already serving. 

'Michael Woodage was ordered to pay £80,000 within six months, otherwise he will have to serve another 21 months imprisonment. Christopher Wills and Nigel Hyland have already paid the money that the court ordered them to pay, £20,062.65 and £6,000 respectively.

'This successful confiscation order demonstrates once again how closely and effectively we worked with Wiltshire Constabulary from the early stages of their investigation to ensure that criminals are not only brought to justice and convicted but also deprived of the proceeds of their crimes.'

DS Bob Cooper from Wiltshire Police said:

'This result shows our continuing determination to work closely with the CPS so that wherever possible we will ensure that criminals are not only tried for their crimes but that the proceeds they make in the process are removed.

'Money regained through the Proceeds of Crime Act is reinvested in a variety of ways nearly all of which are for the benefit of the public.'