High Court battle for Sutton drugs gangster’s assets

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A SUTTON drugs baron who was responsible for flooding the area with millions of pounds worth of narcotics could be stripped of his criminally-obtained assets.

Prosecutors have launched a High Court action against dangerous gangster John Dawes, formerly of Tudor Street, to claw back his assets - which include property, cash and endowment policies.

As ring-leader of the notorious Dawes gang, he was convicted of money laundering and conspiring to deal in narcotics after a nine-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court in May 2005.

The gangster was later hit with a £355,000 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act - but the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) efforts to enforce that bill are still continuing and are set for a hearing at London’s High Court in late November.

As well as cash and endowment policies, the CPS’s Proceeds of Crime Unit had targeted Dawes’ family home - which is a substantial detached bungalow - and a large static caravan at a site in Skegness.

On Monday, CPS lawyers told Judge Rabinder Singh QC the investigation encompasses ‘a number of properties’ currently the subject of restraining orders, which is preventing their sale.

The judge gave directions for the enforcement hearing, due to take place in the week beginning 28th November. Dawes’ wife, Helen Dawes, is also expected to be represented.

Dawes was caged for 24 years and, at the trial, he was told by Judge Michael Pert: “You were a ruthless, cunning, unscrupulous and dangerous man. You are a bully. You enforced your wishes through violence and you made sure people knew that.”

His trial followed a four-year undercover investigation by detectives to dismantle the complex, multi-million pound drug empire which had links in Holland and Spain.

During the sting operation, officers found that the gang members were importing amphetamines and shrink-wrapped kilo blocks of heroin, which were being cut up into ounces before being sold.

They discovered an intricate web of drug runners and traffickers who were all linked to the gang. There was also a team of thugs who would act on behalf of the crime boss and caused terror on the streets of Ashfield.

Jailed alongside Dawes in 2005 were Ryan Smith, formerly of Ashland Road, Sutton, who was imprisoned for 14 years; his father Arthur Dawes, formerly of Taylor Crescent, Sutton, who was imprisoned for eight years and Rebecca Bridge, who lived at Central Avenue, Ingoldmells, Skegness, and was imprisoned for four years.