Masthead Local Govt - Planning

Couple jailed for combined 12 years over failure to meet £1.4m confiscation order

A husband and wife in Surrey have been jailed for a combined total of more than 12 years after they failed to pay back £1.4m owed under a confiscation order imposed for planning breaches.

Runnymede Borough Council said it had been pursuing members of the Beach family through the courts for a number of years because of unauthorised use of land at Padd Farm in Hurst Lane, Egham.

Last month (23 February) Daniel Charles Beach and Linda Mary Beach were jailed for failing to comply with confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Mr Beach received seven and half years while Mrs Beach was jailed for five years. The length of the sentences related to the sums of money under the POCA that the court had previously ruled each couple was responsible for paying.

The council said early court hearings had concluded that, without planning permission, the couple had used the land to store waste and freight containers as well as allowed vehicles to be broken up, repaired and restored along with other industrial activities.

Runnymede said large sums of money had been recovered but Mr and Mrs Beach still owed around £1.4m.

At the completion of their sentences Mr and Mrs Beach will still have to pay the outstanding money, along with further interest payments built up while they delay.

Cllr Nick Prescot, Leader of Runnymede Borough Council, said: "As a council we have worked tirelessly in this case to uphold planning regulations, carry out enforcement action and then regain the criminal income that had been made.  When repayments haven't been made we've continued to pursue the case through the court and that has resulted in the prison sentences that have been handed down.

“This case is an example of how seriously Runnymede takes its responsibilities within the planning system."

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