TERRINGTON ST CLEMENT: Charitable drug dealers lose appeals against sentences
A couple who used profits from their cannabis farm to make donations to good causes in Africa have failed in an appeal.
Michael Foster, 62, and Susan Cooper, 63, used an estimated quarter of their £400,000 criminal profits to pay for life-saving surgery, computers for an eye hospital and schooling in Kenya.
The benefactors, who grew hundreds of illegal plants over six years in a rented property in Terrington St Clement, were jailed for three years at Lincoln Crown Court in October after admitting four counts of producing cannabis and one of possessing criminal property.
Despite claims the couple had “touched real lives”, the Court of Appeal in London confirmed the sentences on Wednesday.
Officers in Lincolnshire investigating a burglary had stumbled on the pair’s cannabis factory in the village of Little Sutton and raided it in June 2010, finding cultivation rooms and £20,000 in cash. They then raided the premises in Terrington St Clement finding further drug cultivating.
Their electricity bill had surged to £12,000-a-year which they attributed to a pottery kiln supposedly installed in their farmhouse in Linconshire.
Mrs Justice Rafferty said the pair, from Norwich, previously of good character, were banking up to £70,000-a-year from the drugs, which they sold to a single customer at “heavily discounted rates” in carrier bags.
An asset probe showed the pair bought a house in a village near Mombasa, Kenya, and contributed “significant” amounts of their ill-gotten gains to needy causes in the area.
Mrs Justice Gloster, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Sir David Calvert-Smith, said: “Evidence showed that they had helped a Kenyan man pay for an operation on a gangrenous leg and for schooling for certain local Kenyan children.”
However, she said it was also clear they spent large sums on maintaining their comfortable lifestyle.
The couple’s barrister, Gareth Wheetman, referred to media reports of their charity, saying “there are real lives that were touched”.
But, Mrs Justice Gloster said: “The finding that they may have chosen to expend unconfirmed quantities of the proceeds of their crime on philanthropic donations does not provide good grounds on this appeal for further reduction to the sentence.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for King's Lynn
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North