A money launderer has been ordered to give up more than £900,000 worth of precious metals found inside his hotel room.
Stephen Burton, 55, was arrested in London on Thursday 14 February 2019 as part of an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate into the whereabouts of a wanted man from Tunbridge Wells.
Inside his hotel room they located the following items:
• Gold bars, Krugerrand coins and other items worth a total of £742,544;
• Silver coins worth £8,460;
• A total of £53,403 sterling;
• A total of 14,120 Euros;
• Five designer watches worth a combined total of £110,000;
• Five hundred lottery tickets;
• Two passports in Burton’s name but with different dates and countries of birth;
• Several other false identity documents.
The detectives suspected Burton, formerly of Frieth Road in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, had purchased the precious metals and watches in order to conceal money earned through criminal activity. He was arrested at the hotel and later charged with money laundering and the possession of false identity documents.
Burton pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to three years and 360 days in prison at Isleworth Crown Court, London, on Friday 6 September 2019.
At a separate hearing on Wednesday 30 October, the same court granted a confiscation order for the value of £927,725 and approved the forfeiture of the false identity documents following an application by financial investigators using legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Burton was also issued with a Serious Crime Prevention Order, meaning he will be subject to a number of conditions designed to prevent him from re-offending following his release from prison.
Detective Inspector James Derham of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘Law-abiding members of the public do not carry almost £1 million worth of precious metals around with them.
‘The Proceeds of Crime Act has helped us to ensure the items seized from his hotel room last February will never be returned to him. He will instead have to earn an honest living and will be closely monitored following his release from prison under the terms of his Serious Crime Prevention Order.’
View the body-worn footage showing the seizure of some of the items: