Heroin smugglers told to pay back £160k

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A HEROIN-smuggling couple from Wigan have been ordered to hand over £163,000 of their ill-gotten gains - or be sent back to prison.

Susan and Paul Gleeson, of St Matthew’s Close, Highfield were both jailed in 2012 for their roles in an attempt to bring £1.5m worth of heroin into the UK.

Paul Gleeson, 54, pleaded guilty to importation charges and was sentenced to seven years, while his 52-year-old wife got a 15-month jail sentence after being convicted of money laundering.

Their convictions followed the seizure of around 20kg of heroin by Border Force officers at Dover in September 2011. The drugs were concealed in a specially adapted compartment in an MG sports car.

The car’s driver, Jeffrey Green, 55, of Newark Street, Wigan, was hit with a seven-year prison term. He was

later given an additional 21 months after missing a deadline to hand over criminal profits of £90,000.

The National Crime Agency conducted a financial investigation into the Gleesons and at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court the couple were ordered to pay back a combined £163,000 that they have made from their criminality. If they fail to do so within six months they will each serve a two-year default sentence and will still have to pay up.

Malcolm Bragg, from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said: “The Gleesons lived a lavish lifestyle which appears to have been almost totally funded by criminality. Through this confiscation we have been able to deprive them of a significant amount of cash.

“Money is at the heart of all organised crime and is the motivation for most criminals, so we are determined to make sure they can’t enjoy their profits and the lifestyle that may bring.” The NCA is a new law enforcement agency tasked with leading the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime.