Widnes dad of burglary gang brothers jailed for an extra three years

Runcorn and Widnes World: John Bridge John Bridge

A Widnes dad jailed for handling £1.2m in stolen goods for his three burglar sons is facing an extra three years behind bars after top judges rejected his appeal against a £250,000 confiscation order.

John Bridge, aged 49, of Barnes Road, was deemed by a court to have ‘hidden assets’ after cops spotted a photograph of his granddaughter surrounded by stacks of £50 notes.

Bridge, who allowed his home to be used as a HQ for his sons’ criminal enterprise, was sentenced for four years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods in September 2011.

In May last year, at Warrington Crown Court, he received a £250,000 confiscation order and was warned he would serve an additional three years in custody if he did not pay up.

Bridge challenged the order at London's Criminal Appeal Court last Thursday.

The court heard how he had boasted of having access to £250,000 and that he could ‘sort out’ police officers who came to raid his den.

A mobile phone recovered during a police raid contained a picture of Bridge’s granddaughter lying on a mound of £50 notes amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.

The judge who imposed the confiscation order had commented that “the photgraph supported the finding that it was a lucrative enterprise to boot”, before concluding that Bridge had hidden assets.

Bridge told the confiscation hearing that he was living ‘a frugal lifestyle’ on disability benefit. His lawyers argued that not enough account was taken of his mental health problems.

Lord Justice McCombe, sitting with Mr Justice Griffith Williams and Judge James Goss QC,  rejected his appeal, saying: “A frugal lifestyle is not inconsistent with hidden assets.

"The evidence more than justified the conclusion reached by the judge. This application is wholly without merit.”

The hearing took place on Thursday, December 5.

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