A claim has been made for £5,000 from money seized from a still at-large drugs offender jailed almost six months ago, in his absence.

Peter Hudson, 27, received the 14-year prison sentence of imprisonment after being convicted in his absence of being concerned in the supply of cocaine, following a four-day trial at Durham Crown Court, in August.

The 27-year-old defendant, of Birch Road, West Cornforth, was alleged to have been involved in the supply of the class A drug during the peak of the Covid pandemic, between April and June, 2020.

He was arrested later that year, when quantities of cash were found at his home and in the glove box of his car, amounting to £14,000.

Hudson denied committing the offence at a plea hearing at the court, in February last year.

The Northern Echo: Durham Crown Court heard that police seized bundles of cash, totalling £14,000 from cocaine dealer

He was given bail up to the trial date in August, but when he failed to attend two pre-trial hearings, at the court in June, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

The warrant was not executed by the start date for his trial, on Monday August 7, so, in the absence of any explanation for his not attendance, the case proceeded in Hudson’s absence.

He was convicted after the jury returned a guilty verdict following brief deliberation on the fourth day of the trial.

Judge Jo Kidd imposed the 14-year prison sentence to be served upon the execution of the bench warrant.

The Northern Echo:

Proceeds of crime proceedings were also begun over the amount of money or assets could be sought for confiscation from Hudson, over and above the £14,000 seized after his arrest in 2020.

The case was briefly mentioned at the court shortly before Christmas, when Recorder Gurdial Singh asked what progress had made to trace the defendant, who he dubbed “The Scarlet Pimpernel”, after the elusive title character from popular fiction.

With Hudson said to remain at large, the case came back before the court yesterday (Monday, January 29), when Martin Towers, for the prosecution, said Hudson’s father, Francis, has made a claim over £5.000 of the money which will be subject of the confiscation application.

David Robinson-Young for the absent defendant, said he has had no instructions from his client over the matter, which was, in effect, “a third-party application”.

So Judge James Adkin asked Mr Hudson snr, who attended the hearing, about his claim for £5,000 from the seized money.

In reply the defendant’s father, who told the court he had "fallen out" with his son, said the £5,000 was the proceeds of the sale of a Volkswagen Passat estate car in April 2021.

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'They seek him here and there' but County Durham dealer remains on run

Police seized £14,000 from West Cornforth cocaine dealer

Bench warrant at large for arrest of County Durham cocaine dealer

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Judge Adkin told him he would need proof of the sale of the car, with a statement from the buyer, plus whatever paperwork might assist his application.

The judge said he would adjourn the hearing for Mr Hudson snr to provide the information and to enable the purchaser to attend court to testify over the sale of the vehicle.

That hearing will be staged at the court as part of the crime proceeds proceedings, on Friday, April 26.