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Lowestoft woman ordered to repay £1.9m

PUBLISHED: 10:25 13 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 06 July 2010

A LOWESTOFT mother of three who ran a boatbuilding business with her partner that was involved in the supply of high-speed inflatable boats to international drug smugglers has been ordered by a court to repay £1.

A LOWESTOFT mother of three who ran a boatbuilding business with her partner that was involved in the supply of high-speed inflatable boats to international drug smugglers has been ordered by a court to repay £1.9m that she made from crime.

Ellen George, of Colville Road, and her partner Richard Davison ran a company called Crompton Marine which made powerful inflatable boats which were used to run drugs from the north coast of Africa to the southern coast of Spain, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Last year, 44-year-old George admitted possessing criminal property and five offences of conspiring to defraud the Inland Revenue and was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

At the time lawyers for the prosecution and defence agreed that she had profited by more than £1.9m from her role in the drug smuggling operation but her legal representatives contested the amount she was able to pay back, claiming that her realisable assets were less than the agreed amount she had made from her crimes.

At a confiscation hearing at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday (Monday) prosecution counsel Kennedy Talbot said it was now conceded by the defence that George's realisable assets exceeded £1.9m.

The court heard that she and Davison owned a number of properties worth just under £3m and she also had a 50pc interest in an investment company which left her with total realisable assets of more than £2.7m.

Judge David Goodin made a confiscation order in the sum of £1,950,409 and ordered it to be paid within 18 months. He set a six-year prison term in default of payment.

An earlier hearing heard that police officers who raided George's home in March 2004 found more than £1.25m in cash including £250,000 stuffed in a holdall under the stairs.

Around 70 officers had made co-ordinated raids in Spain and England on the same day and Davison was arrested in Spain but had since gone on the run.

Gareth Rees, defending George, quoted from a report which likened George's relationship with Davison as Pavlov's dog syndrome. “He barked and she jumped,” said Mr Rees.

He also told the court that George had not realised Davison was involved with drug runners and thought he was helping to supply boats to tobacco smugglers.

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