Published: 17:06, 30 October 2019
| Updated: 18:21, 30 October 2019
A money launderer must return more than £900,000 after being sent to prison.
Police swooped on wanted man Stephen Burton from Tunbridge Wells on Thursday, February 14.
During the raid police uncovered:
• 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.
He was under investigation because detectives suspected he had purchased precious metals and watches in order to conceal money earned through criminal activity.
Burton, formally of Buckinghamshire, was arrested and later charged with money laundering and possession of false identity documents.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to both charges at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, September 6, and was sentenced to three years and 360 days in prison.
A separate hearing on Wednesday, October 30, a confiscation order for the value of £927,725 was granted and the false identity documents were forfeited.
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 when he is released 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."