A self-styled travelling showman who insisted he led a modest and honest lifestyle has been ordered by a judge to pay back almost £120,000 of criminal drugs cash.
Robert Brown, 59, who had a “formidable” criminal record for cannabis offences, was charming but “prepared to say whatever would assist his case without regard for the truth”, Judge Robert Bartfield said today.
In a ruling in an opposed Proceeds of Crime application case, the judge said Brown’s benefit from criminal conduct was £188,000 and ordered him to give back £119,995 of available assets.
If he fails to pay up in six months, he faces two years imprisonment in default.
Brown, with previous convictions for conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of the drug with intent to supply, was arrested in December 2011 and subsequently jailed for 12 months for production of cannabis at his home in Malsis Road, Keighley.
Judge Bartfield told Bradford Crown Court Brown claimed his lifestyle was modest. He said he grew the 25 cannabis plants seized by the police from his basement for his own consumption.
He claimed that his money was obtained from his legitimate antiques and jewellery business and from working as a travelling showman organising all-night parties.
Judge Bartfield said Brown owned the house in Malsis Road and another property in Trinity Street, Keighley. Both were not mortgaged and he had collected rents and housing benefit from them.
He had sold land for £12,000 in 2007 and had sums of cash in several bank accounts.
He had around ten previous court appearances for cannabis offences and had been the subject of an earlier confiscation order when he was told to sell a house in Spain.
Judge Bartfield ruled that the two houses were bought with drugs money and Brown had made £30,000 in rent and housing benefit. The land was also purchased with cannabis cash and some of the money in the accounts was criminal.
Added to that was £10,000 the judge estimated Brown had spent on cannabis use in the last six years.
Brown, who was released from prison some time ago, did not attend court for the hearing.