Westcliff drug dealer ordered to repay £75,000 of ill-gotten gains

A drug dealer who was found with more than 200 cannabis plants in his Westcliff-on-Sea flat has been ordered to repay more than £75,000 of his ill-gotten gains.

Roy Laidlaw, 64, received a suspended sentence in 2018 after cannabis with a street value of up to £189,000 was found growing in his loft.

Laidlaw was found to have profited by £102,000 from his crimes. However, at the time of his sentencing he had only £400 to his name.

In 2022, officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) commended a new investigation which identified Laidlaw had further assets available, including money identified as being held in a bank account and funds that he had gifted to an associate.

As a result of this investigation, Laidlaw was ordered to pay an additional £75,758 after the original confiscation order was increased at a hearing at Basildon Crown Court yesterday (Thursday).

Nick Bentley, Financial Investigation Manager for ERSOU, said: “This case shows how we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that criminals never truly profit from their illegal activity.

“Despite the length of time that had passed since the initial criminal investigation, our Asset Confiscation Enforcement team was able to use its specialist skills and capabilities to track down assets available to Laidlaw and ensure that he was made to handover as much as he could.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk