A LEDBURY gang leader who raked in almost £400,000 through criminal activity has been ordered to pay it all back within six months.
Gary Kitchin, from Oatleys Crescent, appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday (January 29) after proceedings were brought forward by West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit.
The 49-year-old was sentenced to 38 months in prison on March 28 last year for conspiracy to seal, and was given a 12-month sentence to run concurrent for money laundering. He remains a serving prisoner at this time.
Kitchin had been arrested in October 2011 and in November 2013 he pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court to both offences.
Financial enquiries found his crime had generated a total of £390,000 since March 2007 and it was further identified he currently had assets valued in excess of that amount.
All those assets were frozen on October 28, 2011 by the crown court pending completion of confiscation proceedings and any payment ordered against Kitchin.
His Honour Judge Parker QC ordered Kitchin to pay back the total of £390,000 within six months and the first instalment of £120,000 to be paid within three months and no later than April 28.
The remaining £270,000 is to be coughed up by July 28.
BT will receive £84,533.90 in compensation for the theft of their copper cabling.
Patrick Kelly, financial investigator for West Mercia Police, said: “This was a long and complex investigation into a team of thieves who, in Kitchin’s case at least, thought they had gotten away with it.
“Kitchin was predominately hands off and distant from the actual thefts but it is clear from the investigations he was the one who was making the money. He was paying the others for their services but was keeping the lion’s share for himself and living a very nice life as a result.
“This result should send a clear message to anyone involved or thinking of becoming involved in acquisitive crime that, once caught and convicted, not only do they face the prospect of prison but they also face the very real likelihood they will lose everything they have in order to pay back a sum equivalent to the total of their gains from their criminality.”
If Kitchin fails to pay he will be sent to prison for another three years and two months after his current sentence. He will also be faced with still having to pay the full £390,000 plus any interest when he is eventually released.