Tuesday, 24 November 2015

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Tight controls on Cumbrian crooks after they leave prison

Two of Cumbria’s major criminals will have limits on their phones, bank accounts and cars under pioneering new laws used for the first time in the county.

Forty-four-year-old Mark Bower, from Harrington, and Robert McNichol, 34, of Park Road, Aspatria, were slapped with Serious Crime Prevention Orders at Carlisle Crown Court.

Under the orders, which last for five years and come into effect when they are released from lengthy jail terms, the pair are restricted to owning two mobile phones, having four bank accounts, no more than £5,000 in cash and must tell the police of any cars they own or drive.

The orders are aimed at preventing any future large scale crime in the county and are only used in the most serious cases.

Bower is currently serving an eight-and-a-half year jail term for his joint masterminding of a cannabis factory in a warehouse in the Glasson industrial estate in Maryport.

Police estimated that the crop’s annual worth – if sold on the street – was about £645,000.

He had also been linked by telephone messages to a conspiracy to supply cocaine and was jailed in 2007 after hiding nearly £20,000-worth of cocaine in two coffee jars in a remote part of west Cumbria

McNichol was jailed for 12 years after he and an accomplice admitted two charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

They were seen handing over packages of the Class A drug – worth £40,000 – to two other men on December 4, 2009.

McNichol and his accomplice were not arrested at that stage but were caught with cocaine worth £250,000 when police stopped them as they headed north on the M6 near Penrith in the following March.

A third man – David Murphy, of Taylorson Street, Salford – was also given a SCP order yesterday after he admitted conspiring to rob the Lloyds TSB Bank in Workington.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Rob O’Connor, who led lengthy investigations into the drugs and robbery cases, said he was pleased with the outcome of the hearing.

“This is the first time we’ve used serious crime prevention orders in the county – they are only to be used sparingly and against those involved in the most serious crime,” he said.

“Their purpose is to protect the public by preventing future crime and restricting or disrupting those involved.”

If the men breach their orders, they could face five years in prison, DI O’Connor warned.

Under the terms of the orders, which are part of the Serious Crime Act 2007, all three men are only allowed;

  • Two mobile phones with the numbers registered with police
  • No more than £5,000 in cash
  • Up to four bank accounts.

And they must notify the police of permanent addresses and any vehicles they own or use.

Murphy has an extra clause forbidding him from associating him with another man connected to his court case. He is not allowed to meet with him in private or in public other than chance encounters.


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