A drugs gang leader has to cough up nearly £500,000 of ill-gotten gains after police busted his shady empire.
James Flinders was locked up for 23 years in 2012 after police caught him by carrying out surveillance on gang members as they discussed deals worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
A judge at Sheffield Crown Court has now told Flinders he faces a further three and a half years inside if he fails to pay back £479,500 within six months. The court heard he had benefited by £589,482 from his illegal dealings – and had £479,506 in available assets. He will be liable to pay up the £479,500 even if he misses the six-month deadline and gets more jail time.
After the hearing, Det Sgt Adrian Ward said: “This is a fantastic result showing teamwork over a range of disciplines. This case is an example of our dedication to protecting and supporting the community, reducing the risk that drugs pose and demonstrating that crime does not pay. I would particularly like to commend the work by Gemma Childs and Christopher Lilley, financial investigators in the Financial Crime Investigation Unit.
Flinders, aged 51, had headed up a massive drugs operation across South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire. His gang members included some of his relatives and closest friends.
An eight-week trial heard some of the drugs, including cocaine and amphetamine, were of very high purity.
During a 10-month surveillance operation, police found drugs and money buried in Clumber Park, Worksop, and captured evidence of Flinders arranging the purchase of a kilo of cocaine worth £54,000.
The court had heard Flinders tried to launder cash he made by spending large amounts renovating his luxury property, The Lodge on Lodge Lane, Dinnington – where even the dog kennel was centrally heated.
Flinders, who has a long-term partner and a child, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis, perverting the course of justice, and converting criminal property.
At his sentencing, Judge Robert Moore had said: “You’ve been undoubtedly the most intelligent man in the dock for this trial and it’s quite clear you used that intelligence between July 2010 and May 2011.
“You constructed and ran a locally managed drugs empire which you controlled with a mixture of fear and bluster.”