Salcombe man Mark Harrington stripped of £250k assets

Image caption,
Harrington was convicted following a three-week trial at Plymouth Crown Court

A money laundering investigation lasting nearly five years has resulted in a Devon man having assets of more than £250,000 confiscated.

In 2006 Devon and Cornwall Police found drugs and cash at Mark Harrington's 13-acre property near Salcombe.

During a "complex and lengthy" investigation all Harrington's bank accounts and assets were frozen.

He was convicted of eight counts of money laundering and jailed for 39 months in January 2009.

Police said when officers executed a warrant issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act in June 2006, a small quantity of cannabis was found in Harrington's house.

'Powerful' legislation

In addition, £10,000 in cash was found under a kitchen cabinet and another £2,000 was found inside a china ornament.

Traces of controlled drugs were also found on scales within the property.

Following the discovery, a restraint order was issued preventing Harrington from disposing of any property or assets he owned.

Financial investigators and police worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to carry out a "lengthy and highly complex series of enquiries" into Harrington's lifestyle and financial affairs.

In August 2008, following a three-week trial at Plymouth Crown Court, Harrington was convicted on eight separate counts of money laundering and he was sentenced to 39 months imprisonment the following January.

Community benefit

Confiscation proceedings concluded that Harrington had benefited from criminal conduct and Harrington was ordered to pay a total of £271,291.50.

The 47-year-old's assets were seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Det Insp Steve White, the senior investigation officer, said the legislation was a "powerful tool" with which to tackle criminals like Harrington.

"By utilising the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, police were able to arrest, convict and imprison Harrington and also strip him of his assets, forcing him in the process to sell his property," he said.

"The proceeds of this and similar confiscation orders are paid initially to central government, however, a percentage is returned to the police to support initiatives which reduce prevent harm and promote safer communities."

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