Upmarket Leeds flats drug dealer to pay back cash

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A drug dealer who was jailed over his involvement in an “industrial scale” operation centred around upmarket flats in Leeds has been ordered to pay back £3,750 of his ill-gotten gains.

James Beresford was linked to the plot after an investigation in which over £400,000 worth of drugs and £100,000 in cash were seized during a series of raids at apartments across the city.

Officers also seized two 10-tonne hydraulic presses which were being used to produce ecstasy tablets.

Beresford, 28, of Nursery Lane, Alwoodley, was jailed for seven years and three months at Leeds Crown Court in December last year.

Beresford was returned to court on Wednesday to face a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The court heard Beresford benefitted by £43,543 as a result of his criminal conduct but has just £3,750 available in assets. That sum was discovered by officers when they raided his home in March last year and found the cash hidden beneath a panel on his bath. Recorder Sandra Knapton ordered that the sum be paid within 28 days or Beresford could face a further prison sentence of up to three months.

At Beresford’s sentencing hearing in December last year, the court heard his fingerprints were found on items found at a flat at Clarence Dock in the city centre. A search of that flat uncovered cocaine worth around £45,534.

Officers also found drugs worth more than £148,000 at a flat on Silver Cross Way, Guiseley, along with £110,000 in cash. Police also found a ten-tonne hydraulic press and 80kg of bulking agents including a caffeine and benzocaine mixture. A search at a flat in West Point in the city centre found more cocaine and another press.

Co-conspiritors Michael Lacy, Mark Kilgallon and Rory Naughton were jailed in June for a total of 20 years.

Beresford was sentenced after admitting producing a Class A drug and possessing cocaine and MDMA with intent to supply.

Det Insp Jaz Khan, of West Yorkshire police’s specialist drugs team, said: “While Beresford was not at the head of this operation, he played a significant role in processing and packaging the drugs and supplying them to lower level dealers.”

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