Drug dealer will have to pay back up to £40,000

The courts have ordered a Morecambe drug dealer to pay back £16,000 of her ill-gotten gains.

Natasha Armstrong, 24, formerly of Regent Park Grove, Morecambe, was convicted of supplying heroin in May 2009 and of supplying class A drugs following the Nimrod raids in Lancaster and Morecambe in November 2009.

In November 2010 she pleaded guilty to the offences and was jailed for 21 months.

At a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Preston Crown Court on Friday, a confiscation order was granted against Armstrong.

The court decided she had made £40,000 from crime and she was ordered to pay £16,000 from her available assets, including cash seized at the time of her arrest, cash in bank accounts and the Peugeot vehicle she was dealing in. This is to be paid within six months or she will face a further 10 months in prison.

Anna Willets, 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.

“If it becomes apparent that Armstrong has more assets available in the future we will also be able to confiscate these, until the total benefit figure is reached.

“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, we will hit you where it really hurts - your wallet.

“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.”