Scrapyard OAPs told to pay £1.2m

SUFFOLK’S largest ever confiscation of criminal assets has seen three tax-dodging pensioners ordered to pay back £1.2 million.

The trio were arrested as part of a major police investigation when officers raided the Ponderosa scrapyard at Red Lodge in September 2008. Police found £243,267 in cash, much of it packed into confectionery tins and envelopes in the bedroom of 69-year-old Bernadette McGivern.

McGivern, of Bridge End Road, Red Lodge, her husband Harold McGivern, 66, now of Greenhill Road, Willesden, London, and Noel Healy, 77, of Bridge End Road, Red Lodge, all pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to launder money, when they appeared in court last year and were each sentenced to 48 weeks in jail suspended for two years. Healy was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

On Monday, the three returned to Ipswich Crown Court where they were told to pay back cash they amassed without paying income tax.

Bernadette McGivern, who was found to have £1.7 million in assets, was ordered to pay £705,825 – she was given six months to pay the money or face up to three and a half years in prison.

Her husband was assessed as having benefited by £151,339 in criminal assets although the court was told he now only had £118,273 left. That will now be forfeited. He was given six months to pay or will face up to two and a half years in jail.

Healy, meanwhile, was found to have £849,519 in assets, £375,900 of which will have to be paid back.

“This seems to have been a lifetime of dodging the tax,” said Judge David Goodin, who made the confiscation order.

The McGiverns’ son Robert, 39, is currently serving a five and a half year prison sentence and has been ordered to hand over nearly £851,000 of criminal assets, following the same scrapyard raid in Red Lodge.