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Digger thief ordered to pay back £553,000

PUBLISHED: 14:13 04 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:39 25 August 2010

A THIEF at the centre of a criminal network that stole £553,000 worth of diggers and lorries has been ordered to pay back money to his victims.

A THIEF at the centre of a criminal network that stole £553,000 worth of diggers and lorries has been ordered to pay back money to his victims.

William Carter, 54 of Hawes Lane, West Wickham, was jailed in March 2009 but after a lengthy investigation, police revealed last Friday that he will be forced to pay back £154,449.

Carter was arrested with two other men on May 30, 2007 at a storage yard in Slade Green where police discovered a haul after a report of numerous diggers being stolen from Erith.

He was a major player in a criminal network that stole lorries and other plant machinery and then transported them to various destinations including Famagusta, Cyprus.

Further investigations led police to identify two other storage yards in Lower Sydenham and Beckenham where more items of stolen plant machinery were discovered.

Last Friday, evidence was heard of Carter's financial dealings at Woolwich Crown Court. Judge Carroll found that Carter had benefited financially from his crimes over a period of years and subsequently made a Confiscation Order. Out of the £154,449 sum, compensation of £69,817 would be paid to his victims, one of whom was put out of business as a result of Mr Carter's actions.

Bexley Borough Commander Glyn Jones said: "This means he has to sell his home and other assets. We will look to use these powers against all career criminals, and those who seek to follow their example."

Carter is currently serving a three and a half year sentence after pleading guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Money Launder and two counts of Facilitating Money Laundering at Woolwich Crown Court.

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