Cash seized from Hartlepool drugs millionaire

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Cars, cash and valuables worth more than £78,000 have been siezed from drug dealers who stood to make millions of pounds from selling cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis.

The trans-Pennine gang, who were jailed last year, were brought back before court to determine if any of their assets can be confiscated as the proceeds of crime.

David Garside, 31, of Hampstead Gardens, Hartlepool, benefited from his dealing by £957,281, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Richard Hermann said assets belonging to Garside included a car, a watch, and cash.

Garside, who is serving 11 years and eight months, was ordered to forfeit £32,220.

Neil Gutteridge, who is serving seven years for drug dealing and money laundering, benefited by £223,452 from his criminal activity, the court was told.

Chris Knox, defending, said: “His assets include an interest in two properties in Gower Walk and Throston Grange Lane in Hartlepool.”

Gutteridge, 31, of Gower Walk, was ordered to pay £23,500 as the proceeds of crime.

Also dealt with was Darren Crossley, one of the gang’s couriers who helped bring bulk supplies of cocaine to Hartlepool from Merseyside.

Crossley, 32, of Galsworthy Road, Hartlepool, who is serving seven years, benefited by £120,294.

He was ordered to pay £294, which was cash found on him when he was arrested.

Garside’s right-hand man, Adrian Morfitt, 31, of Caistor Drive, Hartlepool, is also facing confiscation of cash and assets.

The court was told prosecutors have made an offer to his legal team to settle his case which is being considered.

Morfitt is serving 12 years.

Proceedings against Philip Darby, 58, of Silverwood Close, Hartlepool, were adjourned until October 28.

Darby, who helped the Hartlepool men launder their profits, is serving 42 months.

Mr Hermann told the court negotiations were continuing with lawyers for members of the gang from Merseyside.

“It may be that agreement is reached in the outstanding cases,” said Mr Hermann. “If not, contested hearings will be required.”

Judge Peter Armstrong, who made all the agreed confiscation orders, set a ‘back stop’ date of April next year to hear any cases that cannot be agreed before then.