Cash taken from drug dealers in Cornwall has helped fund a primary school environmental area and sensory garden.
Through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) Devon and Cornwall Police have made a contribution of £2,000 to Cubert Primary School near Newquay to assist with their construction of the garden.
The money came following a crack down on drug-related activities in Cornwall that saw five men jailed.
The police investigation, named Operation Ipanema Phase ii, was formed during the first phase of Op Ipanema, which focused on organised crime in the Falmouth area and saw 21 people receive sentences of more than 100 years imprisonment in June.
Assistant headteacher Tracey Wood said: “We have several pupils suffering from sensory-related disabilities and we are looking to enhance learning opportunities for them, by developing specific areas that will increase their awareness of the environment and the flora and fauna in it.”
DI David Dale of the Serious and Organised Crime Investigation Team (SOCIT), said: “It is recognised that these criminals take significant amounts of money out of the local community to finance their lavish lifestyles with a callous disregard for those their actions impact upon.
“By putting this money towards this project we are seeking to support the local community from which the money has been taken, in a way that both Cubert School and the local community can benefit.”
Det Constable Chris Louca, part of the Serious and Organised Crime Investigation Team (SOCIT) which investigated this case, said: “This group was identified as running parallel to the Falmouth group and when their illegal activities became known they became the subject of Op Ipanema, phase 2.
“Adam Petrauske, Christopher Snow and Henry Tydeman were involved with the production of cannabis in Penzance. We seized £6,000 worth of cannabis from Snow on 7 April 2011, but we know that this was the tip of the iceberg and believe that the true yield of their operation would have run into tens of thousands of pounds.
“The gang ran an organised set up using sophisticated methods and we used all tactics and resources at our disposal including surveillance techniques over a short period in order to carry out this investigation and bring these men before the court.
“Neil Clarke and Jamie Strain were hired from Bradford to come down to the St Austell area with the intention forcibly detaining a man to recoup a drug debt. Their sentence imposed today reflects the severity of that crime.”
Four defendants were charged with offences in October 2012 and entered guilty pleas on the 30th September 2013 on the first day of their proposed trial at Truro Crown Court. Petrauske pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and money laundering before they were all sentenced at Truro today, Friday 11 October.
Christopher Snow, aged 29 and from 69 Alderwood Parc, Penryn, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to produce cannabis and transfer criminal property at a case hearing at Truro Crown Court in March 2013. He will be sentenced in December.
Henry Tydeman aged 24 and from 9 Cardinnis Way, Penzance, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment suspended with 240 hours unpaid work and £1000 court costs.
Adam Petrauske, aged 26 and from Prislow Close, Falmouth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis and conspiring to transfer criminal property (money laundering) and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Neil Clark aged 32 and from Wellington Street, Birkenshaw and Jamie Strain, aged 26 and from St Johns Place, Birkenshaw entered guilty pleas to conspiring to commit false imprisonment. They were sentenced both sentenced to 2.5 years imprisonment.
During the course of the investigation substantial cash and assets were seized.