Drug dealer bids to repay less
A BOASTFUL cocaine dealer from Callington who photographed himself with a £900,000 pile of cash could be ordered to repay just £11,000 as proceeds of crime.
Former lap-dance club owner Michael Welch, 41, is thought to have made at least £400,000 from drug dealing but now says he has almost none of the money left.
He has been ordered to sell his Rolex Oyster watch, collection of valuable paintings, and share in his Callington home, but Exeter Crown Court has been told these are only likely to raise a fraction of the cash.
Welch is serving a nine-year jail term for his leading role in smuggling in a huge cargo of cannabis in a secret compartment in a converted BT van.
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He also ran a cocaine dealing operation from a container in a yard at Embankment Road, Plymouth, where the pictures of a £900,000 pile of banknotes were thought to have been taken.
Welch, of Boconnoc Avenue, Callington, who used to run Teazers Club on Union Street, was ordered to pay a total of £29,630 at an earlier hearing but failed to meet the December deadline and is now at risk of serving an extra 18 months in jail.
His lawyers returned to the court on Wednesday, January 2, to ask that the figure be reduced from £29,630 to £11,000 because his assets had not proved as valuable as originally estimated.
Judge John Neligan adjourned the case and asked to see more details about how much each asset has been sold for before agreeing the reduction.
They include a Rolex Oyster, a £1,500 share in the equity in his home, and 17 paintings including one entitled In the Doghouse and another called Seven Days A Week.
All have been sold on a police online auction website called Bumblebee which is used to dispose of seized assets.
Miss Sally Daulton, for Welch, said: "The original figure was an estimate of the value of the items at auction but everything has now been sold and they received well below the valuation."
"Commission has also been taken off," she added.
"The result is a total of £11,000 and we are applying for this to be the new figure for assets which are available for confiscation."
Judge Neligan said: "If the value of these assets is only £11,000 than the figure will be varied, but I need to see a breakdown."