A County Durham man jailed after being convicted of seizing more than 100 sheep from farms across the North East has been ordered to pay back £130,000.
Phillip Albert Raine was jailed for three years in January 2016, along with his uncle Charles Neville Raine, known as Neville.
It followed a long-running case that involved Durham Police running an “identity parade” to help reunite the animals with their rightful owners.
At a hearing at Teesside Crown Court on Friday (16 December), Philip Raine was ordered to pay back £130,251, having assets amounting to £360,387, according to The Northern Echo.
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Charles Neville Raine was found to have benefited by the same amount but, as a pensioner with no assets, will not have to pay back any money.
The case, which went to court in November 2015, sent shockwaves through the local farming community, with affected producers left feeling betrayed by the two men’s actions.
The pair, who farmed in the Bowes area, had attempted to pass of the sheep as their own by filling away horn marks, removing ear tags and washing off wool paint.
The farmers who were targeted described the men’s actions as a breach of the unwritten “Shepherd’s Bible”.
Out of 151 sheep seized, 116 were returned to a total of 16 victims, comprising farmers from Cumbria, County Durham and North Yorkshire.
Durham Constabulary brought forward the case under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Under the Act, any money or assets ruled to be the proceeds of crime is split between the authorities, which can include the police, Home Office and courts.
In certain circumstances, a judge can decide to award a percentage to the victims of the crime by way of compensation.