ENFORCEMENT action may now be taken against a previously jailed drug courier to ensure he meets a crime proceeds settlement.

John Collard was jailed for three years at Durham Crown Court in February 2019, following the seizure of class A drugs from his car and home, a month earlier.

Police pulled him over, on the A1(M) near Chester-le-Street, as he was driving back to the North-East.

A search of the vehicle uncovered a large quantity of cocaine, while police also recovered, “a significant amount” of heroin from his home, in Linden Road, Blaydon, Gateshead.

He was also relieved of £2,565 found on him, upon his arrest.

The defendant, now aged 55, admitted two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

Inquiries then began under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to discover what assets were in Collard’s possession.

The benefit figure agreed at a crime proceeds hearing, at the court in May last year, was put at £80,000, but the available recoverable amount was put at £14,571, including the £2,565 seized from him on arrest.

He was given six months to repay the outstanding £12,006, which the court was told would come from his share of the re-mortgaging of his house.

Read more: Drug courier made to pay back less than a FIFTH of the cash he made from crime

But the case came back to court this week, more than three years after Collard’s initial arrest, as the settlement figure has not yet been paid.

Chris Knox, for Collard, who has now completed his prison sentence, asked for his client to be allowed more time to pay as he has so far been unable to re-mortgage his home.

In lieu, Mr Knox said Collard has found work and could pay up to £300 per week from his wages to discharge the balance of the order.

But Recorder Ata Dallas refused to grant a further extension, given the time since the expiry of the deadline to meet the settlement.

The issue will now go back to the magistrates’ court to consider imposing enforcement action to ensure the payment is finally made.

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