Member of drug-dealing gang must pay back £27k of his ill-gotten gains

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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.