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Marlborough ex-fireman spared jail by paying back less than £2000

A former Marlborough fireman who profited from drug dealing to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds will have to hand back less than £2,000.

Benjamin Collins, who was spared a jail term earlier this year, was found to have benefitted from his crime by £327,630.

But a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Swindon Crown Court ruled he only had realisable assets of £1,930.

He was given a month to hand over the cash or face a four week jail term for non payment, and still owe the money.

And should the 33-year-old come into money in the future it will still be open to the authorities to pursue him for the remaining £325,000.

Collins turned to dealing super strength cocaine to fund his own drug addiction which spiralled out of control when he was off work after falling from a ladder.

And when his injuries improved enough for him to return to work he was suspended over allegations an 'expert on safeguarding issues' was subject of a 'sexist prank'.

An earlier hearing heard how he was found with thousands of pounds worth of cocaine as well a vast amount of cannabis when police raided his home.

Police launched a dawn raid at his home on Baylie Acre on Friday August 19 last year finding the haul of drugs hidden under his bed.

He had 60.7 grams of cocaine at 95 per cent purity, street deals can often as low as 10 per cent, and about 700g of cannabis.

Officers also seized his mobile phone which was littered with messages showing he had been dealing drugs.

Collins, now of Cherry Orchard, Marlborough, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply.

He insisted after becoming an addict and started selling the class A drug to fund his own use as he could buy it much cheaper in bulk.

On an average week he would sell about 20 deals at £100 a gram, but never made any real profit because of his own use.

He said that after his father's career in the fire service he always wanted to join up and served in Marlborough.

In 2012, though, he said he hurt his back when he fell from a ladder at a fire which left him off work for a long time and needing an operation.

Once he had returned he said there was incident where an 'expert on safeguarding issues' was subject of a 'sexist prank' but and inquiry cleared him of any wrongdoing.

During that time off work he said he spent a lot of time in pubs and after falling with drug users became an addict.

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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters
  • Town-Hall-2011-05-03 08-
  • IMG 9097
  • IMG 8472
  • Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07