Red Lodge tax cheats must pay back £2million after Suffolk Police raid

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ORGANISED criminals who cheated the state out of more than £2million have been ordered to pay back the money in a historic settlement.

The Proceeds of Crime settlement is the biggest ever for Suffolk Police and comes at the end of more than two years of investigations.

Robert McGivern, 41, Bernadette McGivern, 71, Harold McGivern, 68 and Noel Healy, 79, were ordered to repay the money after a police raid on the Ponderosa scrapyard in Bridge End Road, Red Lodge in September 2008.

In the biggest operation of the year, police recovered more than £735,000 and a number of stolen vehicles.

In September 2009, Robert McGivern was found guilty of of money laundering, fraud and handling stolen goods and jailed for five and a half years. Last September, a confiscation order forced him to pay back criminal assets of £851,000.

In November of 2009, Bernadette and Harold McGivern and Noel Healy were given suspended sentences for money laundering offences.

This morning the trio were ordered to repay £1.2million at an Ipswich Crown Court hearing.

Detective Superintendent Chris Mayhew, said the criminals had ‘cheated the tax system’ and praised the success of Operation Basil.

He said: “This case demonstrates the extent to which organised crime can cross borders and impact on the lives of people across the country.

“The vast sum confiscated, the largest ever order granted to Suffolk Constabulary, reflects the level of criminal enterprise in this case and the hard work of Police Financial Investigators and CPS lawyers.

“This money can now be returned to its rightful place in the public purse, to be spent where it is genuinely needed rather than funding the lifestyles of those with a blatant disregard for the law.”