A Kirklees drug dealer who stashed millions of pounds in crypto currency will be forced to hand nearly £5-million to authorities in the largest confiscation of its kind in West Yorkshire.
Simon Barclay aged 42, formerly of Cow Cliffe Road, Huddersfield, was ordered to pay more than £4.9-million in confiscation proceedings brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act by West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit at Leeds Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 27 April).
Barclay was judged to have crypto currencies collectively worth £4,921,637 available, and this has already been converted back to fiat currency (Great British Pounds) to pay the confiscation order.
Barclay’s benefit figure was judged to be £7.1-million, with the disparity remaining as a debt against him.
The confiscation is the largest seizure of cryptocurrency ever brought by West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit following Barclay’s conviction for drug dealing offences in June 2022.
The 42-year-old was jailed for nine years at Leeds Crown Court last year after pleading guilty to offences including the possession of Class A and B drugs including £1.2-million of cocaine as well as heroin.
He also pleaded guilty to the possession of criminal property (money laundering) which was the crypto currency linked to the crime.
Barclay was brought to justice as part of a joint investigation by the Kirklees District Programme Precision Team, West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit and the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit.
His criminal activity first came to light after his use of the dark web was monitored by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) which, along with the RCCU, is part of the UK DICE, the UK national response to darkweb criminality.
They contacted the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit and Kirklees Precision who then began to probe further into his suspected criminality in a joint operation.
The man was monitored making regular drops to a local post office from addresses linked to him and was arrested by Kirklees Programme Precision Officers in November 2021.
A subsequent search of his properties and computer equipment led officers to recover the drugs and crypto currency.
Aside from the confiscation, Barclay was also made subject of a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order at Thursday’s hearing.
This order will begin on his release from prison.
DCI Lee Townley, head of the force’s Economic Crime Unit, said: ”This confiscation is the largest cryptocurrency seizure to date by West Yorkshire Police.”
“This very large seizure makes plain that no matter how criminals try to conceal their ill-gotten gains, we have the specialist investigators in West Yorkshire to deal with it.”
“Barclay’s offending, distributing Class A drugs into our communities, is a deplorable offence which preys on the most vulnerable in our society.
“Barclay has made huge sums of money from these offences whilst the hard working and law abiding public are struggling to make ends meet.
“Most criminals are committing offences to generate money quickly. West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit is dedicated to ensuring crime does not pay. We remain absolutely determined to ensure that those who seek to financially benefit from crime are left with nothing to show for it other than a prison sentence.”
Ramona Senior, head of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Economic and Cyber Crime Unit, said: “This multi million pound confiscation from Barclay marks the final stage in what has been a true partnership investigation by agencies across the UK to dismantle a sophisticated drugs enterprise.
“Barclay used 21st century technology to run his large scale drugs supply network. Ironically though, it was his attempts to stay hidden by using the dark web which brought him to our attention.
“The Regional Cyber Crime Unit works with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and local forces to target online criminality and bring to the surface methods of communication that those involved in crime would rather stay hidden and anonymous.
“This case demonstrates the specialist capabilities operating within the YH ROCU protecting our communities from the threat of Serious and Organised Crime. This investigation is another example of how regional and national partners can support local investigations.
“The scale of the order made against Barclay should serve as a deterrent to others involved in similar activities.”