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Joseph Kelly ordered to pay £784k by court
A MILLIONAIRE York property developer caught red-handed with a cannabis factory next to his property must pay back £784,471 or face jail.
Joseph Kelly, 49, must sell a string of rented homes, land, cars and his marital home to pay back the money he made through his crimes. It is the largest amount ever recovered by Humberside Police.
Kelly, of Copmanthorpe Lane, York, worked with his sister Debra Kelly to establish a high-strength skunk cannabis factory next to their jointly-owned home in Ottringham, East Yorkshire.
Police discovered a crop worth £36,000 in a converted shipping container, and they were both convicted with conspiracy to supply cannabis in February 2011.
Kelly was jailed for two-and-a-half years, but was released early to face an application under 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act investigation into his criminal lifestyle.
He turned pale at Hull Crown Court yesterday as Judge Simon Jack ordered him to find £784,471, his benefit from crime in the last six years.
He must repay it in six months from assets of £964,528 or go to prison for four years.
The judge said he had taken account of his convictions for being concerned in the supply of cannabis in 1999 and cultivating cannabis in 1983.
He told Kelly: “There have been four recent occasions where you have been near to the production of cannabis.
“You had an involvement in a firm called Clockwork Hydroponics. It is common knowledge that hydroponics are much used in the production of cannabis. You have said yourself it was not the best move.”
He said he found he had lied on oath, undermining his credibility. “He has provided little documentary evidence of his dealings and when he had difficulty answering questions resorted to the defence: ‘I really don’t know’ or ‘I can’t remember’.”
He said Kelly had not paid tax other than on a cleaning firm and was guilty of tax evasion as well.
Mother-of-four Debra Kelly, an auxiliary nurse now of Beckside, Beverley, has been ordered to find £12,700 or face eight months in prison by the judge.
The police used the Ottringham conviction to look at all Mr Kelly’s dealings going back six years. He has logging interests in Borneo.
Officers have placed restraining orders on all his property in Ottringham, Goole and Patrington to stop it being sold without their knowledge.
He has not had to hand over his passport, but if he does not pay the recovery unit can begin the compulsory sale of his property while he is serving a further prison term.
After the hearing Lorraine Baines, a senior financial investigator, said: “This is the largest single order Humberside Police has obtained.
“Joseph Kelly is someone who has a criminal lifestyle. Using the powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act has allowed us to open up his lifestyle.”