Jarrow taxi driver who made £160,000 through dealing drugs is ordered to pay back just £410

Raymond Connolly made more than �160,000 from dealing drugs, but has assets of just over �400.
Raymond Connolly made more than �160,000 from dealing drugs, but has assets of just over �400.

A taxi driver turned drug dealer who was jailed for six years made more than £160,000 through his criminal enterprise, a court has heard.

Raymond Connolly, 49, had a huge haul of cocaine, Ecstasy and amphetamine and a cannabis farm growing in his loft when police raided his house in November 2013.

Mr Connolly admitted he was selling drugs and said he had been £30,000 in debt, although he has not tried to pay off the debts.

Mark Guiliani, prosecuting

A further haul of amphetamine and skunk cannabis was recovered during a second search four months later.

The drugs seized during the two separate raids were worth over £80,000 on the streets.

Connolly, of Lodore Grove, Jarrow, admitted possessing the drugs with intent to supply and possessing cash proceeds from his dealing.

He told police he started selling drugs in a bid to cope with crippling family debts of around £30,000.

His case was back at Newcastle Crown Court today, where it was revealed he made £160,781 through dealing - but has only £410 in remaining assets to be seized.

The cash is already in the hands of the police and will be confiscated to settle the order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Connolly appeared at the short hearing via videolink to prison, and spoke only to confirm his name.

Mr Recorder Mark McKone said Connolly will face an extra day in jail if he does not consent to the cash being seized.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court at Connolly’s sentence hearing in February how officers had executed a search warrant at Connolly’s three-bed semi on November 22, 2013, and found 136g of cannabis, 300 Ecstasy tablets, six kilos of amphetamine and a £644 cannabis farm.

The drugs haul was worth a potential £75,000 when sold on the streets.

There was also a stock of cutting agents, used to prepare the drugs for street sale.

Mr Guiliani said: “Mr Connolly admitted he was selling drugs and said he had been £30,000 in debt, although he has not tried to pay off the debts.”

The court heard just four months after the raid, on March 7 last year, a second search warrant was obtained.

This time officers seized 200g of amphetamine and 100g of skunk cannabis, with a street value of up to £5,100.

Peter Schofield, defending, said the cabbie lost his livelihood as a result of his arrest and had not been living an extravagant lifestyle.