A DRUGS gang member who made more than £300,000 dealing cocaine has been ordered to pay up only £1 of his ill-gotten gains.

Matthew Spencer was part of a class A racket run by Anthony and Leon Cullen, twin brothers whose operation was so sophisticated that it modelled itself on a legitimate business paying monthly wages to its 19 ‘employees’.

Bonuses of up to £10,000 and other incentives were also offered to criminals willing to get involved in the murky underworld of supplying cocaine.

Members of the ring were jailed for a total of 185 years back in January – with more than 50kg of cocaine and seven guns having been seized from the gang by police.

Warrington Guardian:

Guns and ammunition seized from the Cullen gang

On Friday, September 6, a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Liverpool Crown Court was told that Spencer, from Longbarn, personally gained a total of £329,000 from his involvement.

Previously described as an Iraq war veteran who had had a ‘spectacular fall from grace’, the court heard that he has since spent all of this money.

As a result, judge Gary Woodhall ordered that the 40-year-old, of Peasley Close, pay back only a nominal amount of £1 of his ill-gotten gains – a sum that will not be ‘collected or enforced’.

Proceeds of Crime Act hearings were also due to be take place for both Anthony Cullen and Christopher Houghton on Friday.

Warrington Guardian:

Anthony Cullen

But these proceedings were pushed back to December after neither defendant was produced from prison due to a mix-up.

Thirty-one-year-old Cullen, the gang’s ‘controller and director’ of Colemere Close in Padgate, had even been moved against his will from HMP Full Sutton near York to HMP Liverpool in anticipation of the hearing.

‘Highly trusted’ racket member Houghton, 40, remained in HMP Frankland in Durham – more than 150 miles away from the courtroom.

Warrington Guardian:

Christopher Houghton

Spencer is currently serving a six-year stretch in prison, while Cullen and Houghton were handed sentences of 27 years and 20 years respectively.

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Meanwhile, Leon Cullen is still on the run from police and is believed to have fled the country.

Warrington Guardian:

Leon Cullen