Sunderland cocaine ‘investor’ ordered to repay £107,000

Iain Potts
Iain Potts

A drug dealer has been ordered to pay more than £107,000 as the proceeds of crime.

Iain Potts was an ‘investor’ in a cocaine dealing operation headed by the Dobbing brothers, based at their Aspect Garage business at Toll Bar, Ryhope.

Asa Dobbing

Asa Dobbing

The payment is roughly half Potts’ assets which include cash in various accounts and several rental properties, Teesside Crown Court heard.

During a hearing to decide the amount to be seized, the court heard Potts, 31, was involved in up to four wholesale transactions of cocaine, having apparently put up some of the money for each consignment.

“We say he was more involved in the conspiracy than just on those handful of occasions,” said Christopher Rose, prosecuting.

“There are thousands of text messages to and from the Dobbings during the lifetime of the conspiracy.

“Mr Potts was also the landlord of Leanne Marriner, a street dealer at the lower end of the chain.”

Tom Mitchell, defending, said some of Potts’ assets were acquired legally, and some of his cash was loans from his father.

Giving evidence, Potts’ father William Potts said he had given his son just under £17,000 in a series of cheques.

“He asked me to lend him the money to top up his ISA accounts,” said Mr Potts.

“I am 64, have worked all my life, and still work at Rolls Royce, so I was happy and able to help my son.

“We also worked together on the rental properties, sometimes he would get the materials, sometimes I would.

“I contributed free labour, but it was something I enjoyed doing.”

The court heard Iain Potts built a portfolio of five rental properties.

“It is clear he was an investor,” said Judge Howard Crowson.

“First he invested in property, then he invested in cocaine when he realised that could be lucrative.”

Potts, of Cavendish Place, Silksworth, was ordered to pay £107,538 as the proceeds of crime.

The court heard the money would come from cash already seized, and the sale or remortgage of his rental properties.

Potts was jailed for eight-and-half years last year.

Jailed at the same time was Asa and Aiden Dobbing, both for 14 years.

At a hearing earlier this year, Asa Dobbing, 38, of Ryhope Grange Court, Ryhope, was ordered to pay £49,774 as the proceeds of crime.

The court heard the money would come partly from Asa Dobbing’s interest in the sale proceeds of a house in Seaham occupied by his former partner.

Aidan Dobbing, 33, of Ravelstone Close, Doxford Park, Sunderland, was ordered to pay £15.266 as the proceeds of crime.

The Aspect Garage premises have since been demolished.