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Croydon couple to pay £100k POCA fine

Words: Laura Edgar
No hiding place: Planners and the Proceeds of Crime Act

Croydon Crown Court has ordered a husband and wife to pay a total of £136,240 for renting out a property despite being served with a council enforcement notice requiring its demolition.

At previous trials the court heard that in January 2012, Derek and Susan Stansbury purchased the building, which contained nine flats, at auction.

They were aware that an enforcement notice was in place, which ordered that the property be demolished and the debris cleared from the site. Croydon Council officers wrote to the couple following the purchase to remind them it needed to be demolished. The notice was ignored and the property continued to be rented out.

The enforcement notice had been issued to the previous owners because the building was not in accordance with the approved planning application.

The couple were ordered to pay £100,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), a £10,500 fine, £25,500 in costs and a £240 victim surcharge.

Paul Scott, cabinet lead for regeneration and planning, said: “I hope this case acts as a stark warning to others thinking of flouting planning law.

“We always take these offences seriously as they can blight communities and have very serious consequences. This should be a lesson to anybody considering going ahead with ill-conceived developments in contravention of planning directives designed to protect the local environment and neighbouring residents.”

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