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Convicted drug dealer who stole £33,000 worth of cocaine from beach to pay back £410

PUBLISHED: 13:41 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:46 13 February 2018

The bags of cocaine seized from the beach in Hopton in February 2017. Picture: NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY

The bags of cocaine seized from the beach in Hopton in February 2017. Picture: NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY

Archant

A drug dealer who helped himself to over £33,000 worth of cocaine from a beach has been ordered to pay back £410.

Julian Underhill, 34, of Charles Close in Caister, stole part of the 360 kilo haul which washed up onto Caister and Hopton beaches in February last year.

The total haul of the Class A drug was worth £50m.

National Crime Agency officers were called in after the surprising discovery.

Underhill admitted to being concerned in the supply of cocaine between November 1 2016 and March 4, as well as possession of cocaine on March 3 last year.

He also admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

He avoided jail but received a suspended two-year prison sentence from Judge Maureen Bacon QC at Norwich Crown Court in September.

Underhill appeared in person at the same court again today for a short proceeds of crime hearing.

Prosecuting, Martin Ivory told Judge Anthony Bate the total cost of the drugs seized by Underhill was £33,460.

Jonathan Goodman, mitigating, said the defendant could only afford to pay back £410.

The court heard that money was taken from his available assets.

Underhill will have to pay the money, which will go towards central government, within 28 days.

During the original court case in September, the crown court heard Underhill used some of the cocaine he found himself on Caister beach, as well as selling some to other drug users.

Andrew Oliver, who defended Underhill, said: “He sent a message to someone saying he had found Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.”

He said Underhill had told the person not to say anything but the word had seeped out.

Mr Oliver added that Underhill was a user of cannabis and crack cocaine.

Chris Youell, who prosecuted the original case, said at the time that Underhill had no role or involvement in the consignment of cocaine but had just found it on the beach adding: “He is not of that ilk.”

As well as a suspended sentence the 34-year-old was ordered to take part in a drug rehabilitation programme.

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