Members of a gang of burglars who targeted Asian familes for the gold they had in their homes made thousands of pounds out of the enterprise – but some will not have to pay anything back.
A financial hearing under The Proceeds of Crime Act at Mold Crown Court revealed that some of the burglars had no assets.
Agreed nominal £1 confiscation orders – not to be collected – were made simply to keep the issue alive so should they come into money in the future then the prosecution could go after them.
But confiscation orders were made against others.
In September of last year, gang members were jailed for more than 42 years after the court heard how they had caused great concern to the Asian community and they had also targeted the elderly and the vulnerable.
The whole conspiracy involved 37 burglaries in Chester, The Wirral and the Welsh borders, and the Midlands.
It was described as a planned, sophisticated “gang crime” involving the deliberate targeting of property.
Stolen cars had been used and the court heard that burglars got clothes from charity shops – including Beatle wigs – to disguise themselves.
John Purcell, 24, of King’s Road, Connah’s Quay, admitted involvement is 13 burglaries and was jailed for five years.
His criminal benefit was said to have been £250,155 and he was ordered to pay £13,000.
Michael McGuire, 47 of Homestead Lane, Wrexham was involved in 22 burglaries and was jailed for six and a half years.
He was said to have a criminal benefit of £92,850 but was made the subject of a nominal £1 order.
Kevin Joseph McGuire, 34, of Blackburn, also received six and a half years and his benefit was said to be £131,623. A £1,058 confiscation order was made in his case.
John James Purcell, 29, of Ruthin Road Caravan Site in Wrexham, involved in nine burglaries, received six years and his criminal benefit was £158,531 with a £2,570 confiscation order.
Miles Berry, 24, of King’s Road, Connah’s Quay, who received five years, made £95,934 but was subject to a £1 nominal order.
Miles Delaney, 32, of the Ruthin Road caravan site, was cleared of the conspiracy but admitted two burglaries.
He received five years, his criminal benefit was £95,900 and he was made subject of a £1 nominal order, as was Patrick Doran, 30, also of the Ruthin Road site, who was jailed for two and a half years for the conspiracy and whose criminal benefit was said to be £92,800.
Mark Bowen, 46, of Western Avenue, Whittington, Oswestry, admitted handling stolen goods and money laundering.
Described as a legitimate businessman who was said to have bought a £55,000 yellow Lamborghini in a mid life crisis, he received 27 months last September.
The court heard that he had not handled all the gang’s proceeds, but it was estimated that it may have been in the region of £20,000 worth.
His POCA order was disputed and the proceedings against him were adjourned until December by the judge, Mr Recorder Wyn Lloyd Jones.
Some defendants had previously been dealt with and the judge was told that the prosecution hoped that when all orders had been completed some £60,000 would have been seized and there would then follow an administrative nightmare where victims would be compensated on a pro-rata basis.
See full story in the Chester Leader