Woman forfeits £100,000 following conviction for drugs offences
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A woman who was convicted for her role in dealing drugs has been ordered to pay back more than £100,000 by the courts.
Barbara Varns admitted possessing the class B drugs cannabis and amphetamines with intent to supply and two counts of possessing criminal property at her home in Worthing.
After a criminal investigation, she was jailed in October last year.
Now, following an inquiry by specialist financial investigators from the Economic Crime Unit (ECU), the cash, drugs, and items confiscated were forfeited in a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The court was told how Varns, 61, formerly of Cheviot Road, Salvington, was driving in a van when she was stopped by officers from the Tactical Enforcement Unit in West Sussex on June 10, 2020.
Officers found her in possession of £19,000 in cash which she had stashed in her handbag, and a small amount of amphetamine.
Police completed a search of her home where a further £33,000 in cash was seized.
They also found cannabis and amphetamines worth more than £68,000, along with more than 3,000 items of cosmetic products and clothing with tags still on.
None of the items could be identified as having been purchased legitimately.
Varns was sentenced on October 28 last year at Lewes Crown Court for the offences.
Her case under the Proceeds of Crime Act was heard at the same court on May 23, where it was revealed she had benefitted to the sum of more than £166,000 from the criminal property.
The court concluded she had £103,189.51 of recoverable assets, which were forfeited under a confiscation order.
Following the case Detective Inspector Mark O Brien, from the ECU, said: “This was a complex investigation involving frontline officers, Worthing CID and financial investigators.
“It shows our determination to pursue every avenue available to us to not only catch criminals involved in drugs and theft offences, but to also deny them the benefits of their illegality.
“Varns pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession with intent to supply amphetamine and two counts of possessing criminal property. She was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.
“At Lewes Crown Court on the 23rd May 2022 a Proceeds of crime act hearing took place and she was found to have benefited to the sum of £166,400.67 with assets available to pay £103,189.51. This is to be paid within 6 months.
“The available amount is made up of cash seized, her vehicle, balances of bank accounts held, and the seized items.”