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Crown to return £3000 seized in Caithness drugs raid

By Court Reporter

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Wick Sheriff Court.
Wick Sheriff Court.

The Crown Office has pulled the plug in a protracted legal action to retain £3000 of alleged drugs money seized in a raid on a rural Caithness cottage.

It means that the cash Carl Elton claimed was the proceeds legitimately generated from his puppy-rearing business will be returned to him.

In 2019, Elton (36) was ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work after admitting on indictment having cultivated cannabis at his then Caithness home at Ackerness Cottages, near Wick. The Class B drug seized by the police was said to have a potential street value of between £4000 and £14,000.

The Crown Proceeds of Crimes Unit immediately raised an action challenging Elton, from Colwyn Bay, to provide evidence that the money had been legally obtained.

The action was the subject of repeated hearings at Wick Sheriff Court and the subsequent delays were further exacerbated by injuries Elton received in a road accident.

At one point, Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood criticised Elton for not appearing for an arranged hearing and warned that if the failure was repeated, he would issue a warrant for the accused's arrest.

The case was the subject of a Webex conference in Sheriff Andrew Berry's chambers on Tuesday, as a result of which the Crown indicated it was withdrawing its confiscation motion.

A spokesman said: "The Crown has a duty to keep all cases under continuous review to ensure that proceedings remain in the public interest. Following a careful review of the facts and circumstances, a decision was made to discontinue proceedings."

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