Northern Ireland news

Businessman ordered to repay £515,000 for selling illegal veterinary drugs

Christopher Noel Logan from Cloughmills was found guilty last year of selling prescription-only veterinary drugs from his hardware shop

A CO Antrim businessman who sold illegal veterinary drugs from his hardware shop has been ordered to repay £515,000 or face jail.

Christopher Noel Logan, from Drumbay Road in Cloughmills, was found guilty last year of the "large-scale illegal supply of prescription-only veterinary drugs".

The 54-year-old's activities spanned a five-year period between 2009 and late 2013, selling the medication from his Cloughmills hardware store.

At a Proceeds of Crime confiscation hearing at Antrim Crown Court, Logan was ordered to repay £515,000 within three months or face two years in prison.

The illegal supplies were found during searches by the PSNI and Department of Health officials at commercial and residential premises in the Cloughmills area in late 2013.

Significant amounts of cash were also uncovered.

The drugs supplied were worth more than £681,000 and included substantial quantities of unauthorised and illegal prescription-only veterinary medicines including a range of antibiotics.

In November, Logan was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for five years.

Senior medicines enforcement officer Peter Moore, who led the Department of Health investigation, said: "This was a significant criminal enterprise which involved the illegal supply of veterinary medicines onto the black market on a near industrial scale.

"The likelihood is that many of these illegal veterinary medicines were destined for use in food producing animals, which poses a real risk to the general public."

He said the case "sends out a very clear message that illegal activity such as this will not be tolerated by the courts".

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: "A financial investigator from our economic crime unit was appointed to progress confiscation proceedings in this case after a conviction was secured last year.

"This sterling work has now resulted in a confiscation of over half a million pounds - proof that crime really does not pay."

Prof Mike Mawhinney from the Department of Health, added: "Those involved in animal health and who use veterinary medicines are reminded that they should only source medicines from legal and reputable suppliers.

"There are clear dangers posed by the indiscriminate and unauthorised use of antibiotics."

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