A 64-year-old Thrussington businessman has been ordered to pay back more than £4.5million in assets he accrued from a criminal lifestyle or serve nine years in prison.
Police have discovered that Peter Carroll amassed a portfolio of 16 properties in the UK and abroad and owned a £400,000 yacht, as well as an Aston Martin Volante Convertible and a Bentley Arnage.
He has already served time in jail after being arrested in January 2013 while driving a skip wagon containing cannabis plants.
A search of a property linked to him uncovered a cannabis farm with approximately 3,000 plants worth an estimated £77,500 and over £14,000 in cash.
Following a criminal investigation undertaken by the North West Regional Crime Unit, Carroll, and three co-defendants, were convicted six months later
of conspiracy to produce a Class B drug (Cannabis).
In the subsequent years a proceeds of crime confiscation investigation was carried out and earlier this month a confiscation order was made against Carroll at Preston Crown Court.
Det Sgt Donna Pearson, of the North West Regional Asset Recovery team, said: “This has been a protracted investigation, which has established that Carroll had been living a lifestyle beyond his legitimate means for some considerable years.
“He had amassed the trappings of wealth, in the form of prestige motor vehicles, a luxury yacht and properties in Spain and Florida.
“As a result of this confiscation order Carroll will now have to pay back the £4,539,721.68 he has acquired from his criminal lifestyle or face a further nine years in prison.
“Even after serving the default sentence for non-payment of the order, the order remains payable.”
The police investigation into Carroll’s lifestyle unearthed that he was an official of multiple dissolved companies and had bought substantial assets including properties in Leicestershire, Fuengirola in Spain and Kissimmee in Florida, USA, as well as the luxury cars, the yacht and a Rolex watch.
As a result of the financial probe the court was satisfied that Carroll had a criminal lifestyle and that as a result the legislation permitted all transactions and assets relating to him dating back to January 2007 to be considered in the confiscation proceedings.
This meant that despite the value of the crime for which he was originally arrested for amounting to only £77,500, the court was satisfied that the amount of money he had benefited from in this period was significantly higher.
Judge Gibson determined that Carroll, who was not in attendance during the hearing, had considerable assets which had remained hidden and which the financial investigator had been unable to trace.
Police have appealed for the public’s help in tracing Carroll’s hidden assets by providing information about them.
Det Sgt Pearson added: “We will now assist the court in realising these assets.
“We have been unable to track a substantial amount of assets that he must hold somewhere and the court agreed that a substantial amount of Carroll’s order consisted of hidden assets.
“If such orders are not paid, we will leave no stone unturned in continuing to trace hidden assets in order to ensure that offenders pay their orders in full.
“I would always invite the public to provide any information about any assets that individuals subject to confiscation orders may hold.
“Together we can ensure that crime will not pay and that criminals will pay back to society everything earned from their criminality.”
Anyone with information about any of Carroll’s hidden assets is asked to call police on 101 or, anonymously, on Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.