A convicted drug dealer from Maidstone has been ordered to pay back more than £9,000 in illegal earnings following an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Ashley Nation was sentenced last year to almost five years’ imprisonment for supplying cocaine, MDMA and cannabis.

Confiscation hearing

On 29 April 2021, a confiscation hearing was held at Maidstone Crown Court, where it was determined Nation had assets totalling £9,174, which included money in bank accounts as well as cash and designer clothing and footwear seized by police.

Nation has three months to pay this total or faces a further six months in prison.

The 36-year-old was initially arrested in May 2019, after officers executed a search warrant at his flat in Maidstone. An array of high value goods, many still boxed, as well as almost £3,000 in cash was discovered.

Plastic packaging appeared to have been flushed down a toilet and white residue powder was visible around the toilet bowl. Just weeks later a second search warrant was carried out at the same flat. Nation was again arrested, and a number of high value goods valued in excess of £30,000 were seized. A car parked nearby was searched which led to the discovery of quantities of cannabis and cocaine.

Nation pleaded guilty to a string of drugs supply charges and on 17 March 2020 received a prison sentence of four years and nine months.

Detective Inspector Annie Clayton from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘Kent Police does not stop at the point of conviction for offenders who have benefited financially from their crimes.

‘The Proceeds of Crime Act remains one of our biggest weapons against those who fund a lifestyle from crime. It enables us to claw back any ill-gotten gains from offenders, by allowing us to seize cash, cars and sometimes even lavish homes which may have been funded by crime.

‘Powers derived from the Act can often mean that a criminal continues to pay for his or her crimes long after they have even been released from prison, depending on how much money has been derived unlawfully.’

On 18 February 2021, a Confiscation Order was also made for Nation’s co-defendant Laura Hughes, aged 39, (who had also been previously convicted and was given a suspended sentence after admitting a charge of converting criminal property). Hughes paid Nation’s profits from drug dealing into her bank account. She was found to have assets totalling £23,124 and was also ordered to pay these to the court, or face imprisonment.

By Ed