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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Court orders Cumbrian criminal to pay back £222,000 - or face longer jail term

A criminal has been told to pay back £222,000 within six months - or serve an extra two and a half years in prison.

Peter Farquhar photo
Peter Farquhar

Peter Henry Farquhar, 54, of Briscoe Crescent, Whitehaven, was jailed for three years and nine months at Carlisle Crown Court in July last year after being found guilty of a £14,000 benefits fraud, money laundering, conspiring to avoid import tax on cigarettes and conspiring to import illegal steroids.

At a Proceeds of Crime hearing yesterday, he was found to have benefited to the value of £266,005.

The court heard Farquhar - who unsuccessfully appealed against his sentence in December last year - had assets worth just over £222,000, including a house in Whitehaven, a motor vehicle and £100,000 in 'hidden' assets.

He was told he has six months to hand-over the £222,000 and if he fails to do so, will serve a default sentence of two and a half years.

After the proceeds hearing, Detective Inspector Rob O’Connor, of Cumbria police, said: "Peter Farquhar lived a life of luxury in Thailand and sent parcels back to the UK for others.

“He lived on the profits and through pure greed continued to claim benefits he thought he was entitled to from the Department of Work and Pensions. Working in partnership with the DWP, once Farquhar returned to the UK he was arrested.

“The amount Farquhar has been ordered to pay back demonstrates that we will continue to pursue people through the courts to ensure that they do not benefit from crime.

“Farquhar now has six months to pay back nearly a quarter of a million pounds. If he fails to do so, he will serve another two and a half years in prison. Even then, if he still fails to pay, this amount will stay with him for life and through the courts we will look to take his possessions away from him."

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