Council awarded more than £33,500 from church for breach of notice
Barking and Dagenham Council has received £33,539 from HM Courts & Tribunals Service after a church formerly based in Barking, and the landlord of the property it rented, were found guilty of a breach of notice issued by the council.
At a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court earlier this year, both defendants were sentenced to confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and ordered to pay a combined confiscation order of £196,250.
The council has received £33,539 so far from the confiscation orders and will use this for initiatives to reduce crime and to recover further criminal assets.
Seventy four-year old Milap Singh Padda of Barleycorn Way, Hornchurch, RM11 3JJ, received a confiscation order of £104,986. This was the rental income he had received from Mountain of Fire and Miracles International, and other churches he allowed to use the building, for over three years in contravention of a planning enforcement notice. He was also fined £4,000 plus costs of £3,507 (and a £170 victim surcharge). His order has yet to be paid, and when it is the council will receive a portion of it to re-invest in crime reduction.
While the church, Mountain of Fire and Miracles International, received a confiscation order of £91,264. This was the income they had received after using the venue as a place of worship for over three years in contravention of the planning enforcement notice. The Church is currently subject to intervention from the Charities Commission for financial irregularities. They were also given a fine of £4,000 and costs of £3,507 (plus a £170 victim surcharge). It is from this sum that the council has received £33,539.
The council is awarded 37.5 per cent of the income from criminal assets and uses this for initiatives to reduce crime and to recover further criminal assets. The rest of the money is kept by the Home Office and the court system to fund their work on the cases.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, welcomed the award and praised the persistence of the council officers in securing this outcome.
If you choose not to play by the rules, we will use all the powers available to us to find you, investigate and where we find against you - we'll prosecute and take back the money."
Cllr Mullane said: “This is a culmination of six year’s work and a lot of effort on the part of our officers. The message from us is loud and clear – if you choose not to play by the rules, we will use all the powers available to us to find you, investigate you and where we find against you - we will prosecute and take back the money.
“Taking back income and assets from criminals is a very powerful tool to stop illegal activity and our officers will continue to work hard to identify and where possible, recover the ill-gotten gains from any illegal activity.”