House sold to repay drug dealing profits

A FENLAND family who ran a drugs cartel which netted a £1 million has accepted a £150,000 offer for their home to meet a confiscation order imposed by a court. Barry and Mavis Warden, jailed nearly two years ago for ten years each, needed to raise cash q

A FENLAND family who ran a drugs cartel which netted a £1 million has accepted a £150,000 offer for their home to meet a confiscation order imposed by a court.

Barry and Mavis Warden, jailed nearly two years ago for ten years each, needed to raise cash quickly to meet the terms of the order.

They were given until April 13 to come up with the respective payments of £116,000 and £93,000 under the terms of the 2003 Confiscation of Criminal Assets Act.

News of the sale of their former council home at Belt Drove, near Wisbech, was given to Cambridge Crown Court on Friday after a judge heard of the efforts being made to retrieve the cash.


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Barry Warden, 61, and Mavis Warden 55, had been told their sentences would be increased unless they handed back some of the cash made during their years of drug dealing.

At the original confiscation hearing, Barry Warden was judged to have benefited to the tune of £234,000 from drug dealing and was ordered to repay £117,000 in six months or face three more years in prison.

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Mavis Warden was adjudged to have made £232,000 and ordered to repay £94,000 in six months or face another two years behind bars.

The court was told that efforts to recover the money had been ongoing since the confiscation order was made last summer.

Police have spent the intervening months trawling through not only the bank accounts of Warden and his wife, but also those of family members, also sentenced after the trial.

The family gang also included sons Richard (jailed for ten years and ordered to repay £80,000) and Barry Jnr (jailed for five years and ordered to repay £13,000).

In total the 12-strong cartel, many of whom maintained an image of being poor and unemployed whilst operating a 'supermarket style' business supplying cocaine and cannabis through Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, was ordered to repay £300,000 to the taxpayer.

A police spokesman confirmed detectives had assessed the family's assets and the profits made from their crimes.

Det Supt Jeff Hill, senior investigating officer for the inquiry dubbed Operation Orpheus, said after the original confiscation hearing: "We try wherever we can to hit criminals where it hurts, and in the case of the Wardens it's a substantial sum of money.

"It ensures that when they come out of prison they are not going to be able to rely on this pot of money to fund their lavish lifestyles.

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