A COURT has ordered a man who played a significant role in a drug-dealing operation to pay back most of his ill-gotten gains.
James Bateson Harkess must pay back £27,683.66 after he was convicted of a string of offences, including possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.
Police discovered cocaine with a street value of £43,500, two rifles and more than £28,000 at Harkess’s caravan, at Crimdon Dene during a raid on May 23.
He was jailed for five-and-a-half years at Durham Crown Court in July after admitting the drugs offence as well as possessing criminal property, including the cash, and a .22 rifle and ammunition.
During a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court this week, Harkess was ordered to pay back most of the cash.
The crown court previously heard Harkess was a “trusted lieutenant”, helping to store and distribute high-purity cocaine from his static caravan, which was covered by CCTV cameras.