Crook used drugs farm cash to get teeth fixed
HE ALSO BOUGHT TAPAS BAR – BUT MUST NOW PAY BACK AT LEAST £173,000
A CRIMINAL used cannabis farm cash to fix his teeth and buy a tapas bar – but must now hand over thousands of pounds to police.
Lee Birchall, 49, used the proceeds from the underworld activity to pay for £4,000 worth of dental work, as well as fancy jewellery and holidays.
But he has been ordered to pay back at least £173,000 or face jail after a judge ruled that money flowing into his bank account could not be legitimately accounted for.
Birchall, who now faces having to sell five of his six houses, was also said to have used the money to set up Kygos tapas bar in Monton, Eccles, part of the area’s thriving dining scene.
The investigation into Birchall’s criminal dealings began two years ago.
It came after police found two cannabis farms in a house in Pamona Crescent, Ordsall, in March 2015.
When officers went to arrest Birchall in connection with the find, there was a delay in him opening the door and officers later discovered a bag full of cannabis he’d hidden in his neighbour’s garden.
In February 2016, Birchall was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, for possession with intent to supply class B drugs.
But detectives continued to delve into his financial affairs behind the scenes - and identified assets they say were not bought with legitimate income and could only have been purchased through crime.
And at a confiscation hearing at Manchester Crown Court this week, Birchall was ordered to pay back a total of £283,981.
The confiscation order was granted on Thursday by Her Honour Judge Goddard, who said that if Birchall did not pay back at least £173,000 within three months he could face 18 months in prison and still have to settle the bill.
Police say Birchall will have to sell five of his six houses in and around Salford, as well the furniture and fittings, together with the lease for the tapas bar in Monton.
He will also have to recover £40,000 he was found to have loaned to his sister in 2015.
Kygos tapas bar in Monton