National Crime Agency
Drug smuggling hauliers ordered to pay back more than £312,000
Two men from Liverpool who used their haulage firm as a front for heroin trafficking have been told to pay back £312,232.37 in criminal profits.
Kevin Noble, 61, and Kevin Aitchison, 45, both from Liverpool, were jailed for 15 and eight years respectively in April 2018 following a National Crime Agency investigation.
At Canterbury Crown Court on 28 August, Aitchison was ordered to hand over £80,436.58. Noble had been told to pay back £231,795.79 at a hearing on 2 August.
Both men have been given three months to pay after NCA officers obtained confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Should they fail to pay within the time period, Aitchison and Noble will have their sentences extended by 12 months and 26 months respectively, while still being liable for the money.
Investigators told the court that the pair’s criminal enterprise afforded them a lifestyle that included luxury rental apartments on Liverpool’s waterfront and gambling away hundreds of thousands of pounds at bookmakers.
Aitchison and Noble were both arrested by the NCA hours apart in Mercedes vans marked “PNT Express” at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Coquelles, France, on 19 October 2017.
Aitchison was the first to attempt to return to the UK, but Border Force officers scanned his van and found packages containing 18 kilos of heroin with a potential street value of around £1.8 million hidden in a special compartment.
As the search of his vehicle took place Aitchison had a text conversation with Noble, the last message of which read “Reckon am niked” (sic).
Phone data uncovered by National Crime Agency investigators show that at this point Noble was in France, but quickly turned around and returned to the Netherlands.
When he arrived at Coquelles later that evening his van was empty, but had an identical hidden compartment fitted.
NCA officers found that PNT Express was not a registered company, and a number of bank accounts linked to Noble had more than £2 million paid into them in the preceding two years, much of which was via cash deposits. Hundreds of thousands of pounds in payments to online bookmakers had gone out of the accounts.
NCA operations manager Jon Hughes yesterday said:
“Aitchison and Nobel were jailed for a combined 23 years, having been engaged in a lucrative plot to smuggle millions of pounds of heroin into the UK.
“The heroin trade fuels considerable violence in the UK, including through county lines dealing. It also perpetuates the suffering of addicted and other vulnerable people.
“These confiscation orders will help to ensure Aitchison and Noble forfeit their wealth as well as their liberty. Not paying will keep them behind bars for longer, and the money owed would still hang over their heads.
“The NCA continues to use all the tools at its disposal to target illicit wealth, wherever we find it.”
Latest News from
National Crime Agency
London drug dealer jailed for cocaine supply and money laundering01/07/2020 17:08:00
An Albanian national been sentenced to 4 years in jail after admitting cocaine supply and money laundering yesterday at Inner London Crown Court.
IoW man charged over Newhaven £10m cocaine seizure01/07/2020 16:15:00
A man from the Isle of Wight has been charged as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into the seizure of cocaine worth £10 million at Newhaven port in East Sussex in November 2019.
West Belfast properties frozen as part of proceeds of crime investigation01/07/2020 14:43:00
National Crime Agency officers working as part of the Paramilitary Crime Task Force executed a search of a residential property in the West Belfast yesterday (30 June) as part of an operation targeting the proceeds of crime.
Port worker jailed after being caught with cocaine and cash in his car24/06/2020 16:15:00
A port worker who was caught in possession of cocaine as he left work has been jailed for nearly seven years following a National Crime Agency investigation.
Man jailed after motorway chase and cocaine find23/06/2020 11:15:00
A man from Southgate has been jailed for 7 and a half years following a motorway chase and the seizure of cocaine worth up to £400,000.
Six arrested and luxury cars seized as part of drugs and money laundering conspiracy22/06/2020 16:15:00
Suspected members of an organised crime group in Merseyside have been arrested as part of a drug trafficking conspiracy.
Convicted paedophile with horrendous catalogue of abuse images has jail term increased19/06/2020 16:15:00
A part-time DJ jailed for making and selling some of the worst child sexual abuse images NCA investigators have ever seen has had his prison sentence increased to four years.
Operation Stovewood – Five arrests made as officers investigate Rotherham abuse claims19/06/2020 11:15:00
National Crime Agency officers working as part of Operation Stovewood have arrested five men as part of an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of two teenage girls in Rotherham.