A convicted burglar who was jailed for more than eight years has had his home taken from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
At the hearing, on 16 November, a judge ruled that Thomas Mee had benefitted from his crimes to the sum of £586,117.36.
The court ordered Mee to pay £249,012.17 within the next three months – or face a further two years imprisonment.
This sum has been determined from the equity in Mee’s home in Liverpool, which will need to be sold, along with cash, jewellery, designer clothing and funds from bank accounts.
Mee was sentenced to eight years and seven months imprisonment at Chester Crown Court on Friday 31 July 2020.
The 45-year-old was part of a gang that stole more than £600,000 after committing at least 14 burglaries at addresses in Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Buckinghamshire, and Warwickshire between November 2018 and October 2019.
The group specifically targeted homes in affluent rural locations and stole high-value watches, designer handbags and jewellery worth more than half-a-million pounds.
Cheshire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit began an investigation into the gang and began piecing together a raft of evidence which linked the trio to burglaries across Goostrey, Neston, Allostock, Mere, Chelford, and Lymm.
Mee’s downfall came on 5 October 2019 when police received a 999 call from a resident in Prestbury reporting that a family member had disturbed intruders at their Macclesfield Road home.
He was arrested while attempting to flee the property and subsequently, police charged him with the burglaries.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and three counts of handling stolen goods.
A spokesperson from Cheshire Constabulary’s SOCU said, “This is the perfect example of how crime does not pay and shows the lengths we will go to in order to target those who have profited from crime.
“Not only was Mee handed a lengthy prison sentence, but he also now must pay back every penny he made from his illegal exploits.
“POCA orders allow us to recoup all of criminal’s benefit from crime – by not only ensuring that criminals are locked behind bars, we are able to also ensure that they cannot enjoy any money received once a sentence is served.
“This money will now be repaid to the victims and will not be ploughed back into criminality. We will do all we can to ensure that criminals operating in Cheshire are unable to profit from their crimes and will work with our partners and the Crown Prosecution Service to use all available powers at our disposal ”
Main image: Thomas Mee