'Offender Pays' Black Cab Drug Conspirator Must Pay His Dues
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, has congratulated the Constabulary on its work to deliver on his ‘Offender Pays’ agenda.
This follows the outcome of a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearing which saw a man convicted of conspiracy to supply drugs ordered to pay £650,000 and which will see the immediate recovery of £160,000.
Paul Pierson, aged 33, formerly of Hillcrest, Lady Meadow, Kings Langley, pleaded guilty in September last year to conspiracy to supply cannabis which had a street value of nearly £850,000 and was sentenced to a three-and-a-half year prison term. 
Cracking down on criminal assets is a key area of focus in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s ‘Offender Pays’ plans. 
Commissioner Lloyd commented: “It is wholly right that those responsible for crime should bear its costs, not the law abiding people of Hertfordshire so I was delighted to hear the outcome of this hearing.”
On August 30 this year, a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearing was held at St Albans Crown Court at which it was determined that Pierson had benefitted from his criminal activities to the tune of nearly £650,000.  His Honour Judge Griffith ordered him to pay £160,000 within 28 days of the hearing.  He will be required to repay towards the remaining balance from any assets he gains after leaving prison at the end of his sentence. 
Commissioner Lloyd added “Making sure offenders pay for their crimes is a key theme in my Police and Crime Plan, ‘Everybody’s Business’, and I will continue to work with the police and criminal justice partners to build on the county’s excellent record of cracking down on criminal assets. “
Income generated through proceeds of crime hearings and forfeitures is on the increase in Hertfordshire, in line with the Commissioner’s plans for the county.  This year’s activity has yielded nearly £560,000 compared to around £420,000 for the policing year 2011/12. 
A black cab, in which Pierson was a passenger, was stopped by Hertfordshire police officers at 11am between Junctions 21 and 21a on the M25 near Watford on April 3, 2012. Officers found 800 individual nine ounce bars of cannabis resin in a large number of boxes. The total weight of the seizure was 200.25 kilogrammes.
After the seizure, police went to Pierson’s address and saw his wife Melissa, aged 34, driving away from the house. Her car was stopped and a single bar of cannabis resin was found in the boot.
She was also arrested and charged and she was subsequently convicted and sentenced to complete 200 hours of community service work.
Gary Brennan, 49, of Hyde Grove, Dartford, was identified as the person who had supplied the drugs to Pierson earlier in the day. He was also sentenced to three and a half years.
Financial Investigator Paul Fitzsimmons of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit said: “This confiscation order sends a message out to all those who think they can get away with profiteering out of crime. Pierson has lost all his assets and long after he comes out of prison, will continue to have this huge debt hanging over him.
“Crime doesn’t pay. If you think someone you know could be benefitting from crime, we would encourage you to get in touch and report it to us. You can do this via the non-emergency number 101, or anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”