Hartlepool drugs boss ordered to pay back fraction of dealing profit

Adrian Morfitt
Adrian Morfitt

A Hartlepool drugs kingpin has been ordered to pay back just a fraction of more than £700,000 he is said to have made from dealing.

Adrian Morfitt, 31, is serving a 12-year jail sentence after he was convicted of being a ringleader in a large-scale drug dealing network in 2015.

Drugs seized by police.

Drugs seized by police.

Alongside his partner in crime David Garside, also 31, the pair headed a Hartlepool gang that worked with criminals in the North West to deal in drugs with a potential £30m street value.

Morfitt returned to Teesside Crown Court yesterday for a Proceeds of Crime Hearing to determine how much he profited by his crimes and what assets he had that can be used to pay it back.

Prosecutor Kieran Rainey told the court Morfitt had benefitted by £712,718 from the drug dealing.

But investigations into his finances found he only has £30,137 which he has been ordered to pay.

Part of the amount includes cash.

Mr Rainey added: “The remainder of the available amount comes from half of Caistor Drive, Hartlepool, which his partner has a 50% interest in.”

Judge Peter Armstrong gave Morfitt three months in which to pay the money, but said he would extend it by a further three months if there were problems selling the house.

Last July, the court was told Garside, previously of Hampstead Gardens, Hartlepool, jailed for 11 years and eight months, had benefitted from his dealing by £957,281.

Assets including cash, a watch and a car, were seized to pay a confiscation order of only £32,220.

Teesside Crown Court previously heard that Morfitt and Garside held meetings with top Liverpool-based criminals to source wholesale quantities of drugs, recruited friends into the organisation and were involved in the making of amphetamine on a huge scale.

In a two-year investigation by the National Crime Agency and Cleveland Police, officers seized 4.25 kilos of cocaine, 122 kilos of amphetamine, 100 litres of amphetamine oil and 35 kilos of cannabis.

Judge Armstrong previously said the seizures were “but a snapshot of a sustained and persistent pattern of dealing”.

He added: “The operation was sophisticated, efficient and potentially highly profitable.”

Eight Hartlepool members of the North East Organised Crime Group, headed by Morfitt and Garside, were jailed for a total of 52 years.