THE ringleader of a drugs gang that operated in Sunderland has been ordered to pay back the proceeds of his crime.

Tony Trott, 30, was jailed for 26 years in November 2018 after being found to have been involved in a conspiracy to supply cocaine across the North-East.

He was also found to have orchestrated an early-morning shooting at a family address in September 2016.

Police monitored Trott and his associates’ criminal activity for months and observed drug and cash handovers throughout 2016.

Trott appeared at Newcastle Crown Court after police launched an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize any assets he may have.

A judge ordered Trott, of South Terrace, Sunderland, to pay back £9,410 after the money was seized by officers. The sum must be paid within 28 days, or the defendant will face further time behind bars.

Trott will be made to re-pay more money if any further assets become available.

Detective Inspector Sally Macdonald, of Northumbria Police, said: “Tony Trott was brought to justice for his crimes in November last year when he was handed a significant custodial sentence.

“However, it is important that the public realise criminals like him, who are involved in sophisticated drugs operations, do not benefit from the funds made during their crimes.

“A financial investigation can be revisited if we think an offender has come into money again and not paid off the total amount.”