Judge seizes £28,000from drug dealer

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A DRUG dealer has had £28,000 confiscated by a judge.

James Bateson Harkess, of Horden, is serving five and a half years in jail for cocaine trafficking and firearms offences.

Durham Crown Court heard the 26-year-old was arrested last May at a static caravan he owned at Crimdon Dene, County Durham.

Prosecutor Adrian Dent said: “Police executed a search warrant at about 8.15am.

“Harkess was in the caravan with another man.

“They briefly tried to prevent the officers gaining entrance.

“Entrance was gained, and 42 items were seized with the assistance of a sniffer dog.”

Among the items seized was a wooden truncheon, a stab vest, an air rifle, 344 rounds of ammunition and 233g of cocaine.

Mr Dent added: “There was also approximately £28,000 in £1,000 bundles.

“At the time, Harkess accounted for the money by saying he was a cleaning specialist earning £3,200 a month.

“He said the CCTV covering the caravan was there to keep away ‘undesirables’.”

Harkess admitted possessing a class A drug with intent to supply, possession of criminal property, and possessing a firearm without a certificate.

He was jailed last July and brought back before the court this week for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.

Mr Dent said: “Financial investigators found the benefit from crime to be £157,150.01.

“The realisable assets are £28,444.10. These figures have been agreed with the defence.”

Judge Christopher Prince ordered the confiscation of the cash as well as a car seized from Harkess at the time of his arrest.