Robber is forced to cough up again

A CONVICTED armed robber has been ordered to repay his ill-gotten gains for a second time by a court after he came into more money.

Darren Hope, of Maple Crescent, Leigh, was jailed for four and a half years in February 2008, for stealing cigarettes during a robbery at the Texaco petrol station on the East Lancashire Road, Lowton, on October 27 2007.

He was one of two masked men who threatened staff with weapons at the garage.

On June 6, 2008, a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Liverpool Crown Court ruled that the 32-year-old had benefited to the tune of £7,084.69 from the robbery.

At that time he was found to have assets of £3,900, and ordered to repay that amount, which he duly did.

But then police had cause to issue a search warrant at his house on June 7 this year and managed to seize a further £2,440 in assets.

As a result a further POCA hearing was held at Liverpool Crown Court this week.

A judge ordered that Hope’s original confiscation order be increased to meet the value of the benefit figure due to him having since acquired further assets.

This included both seized cash and a car, a Renault Laguna.

Hope must make the payment within six months or be jailed for 21 days and will still have to make the payment on release.

After the hearing Det Insp Jon Keeley of Wigan CID said: “Hope carried out a frightening armed raid during which he stole a vast amount of cigarettes.

“He was jailed for his crime and ordered to repay part of the overall money he made from the robbery.

“But now, thanks to the POCA legislation, we effectively get a second bite of the cherry.

“If someone acquires further assets when a benefit figure has not been paid in full, such as Hope did in this case, we can and we will use all the powers available to us to make sure offenders pay for their crimes in full.”