Preston man Lee Evans denies 'catalogue of designer goods' was criminal gains from dealing cocaine

A man who was found to have a collection of expensive luxury clothes and accessories in his home has denied allegations his apparent wealth came from  drug dealing.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 3:45 pm

Lee Evans, 36, of Hudson Street, Preston, was arrested after he attempted to throw away packages, including cocaine and a bag containing £1,670, when police officers chased him in the Preston Docks area on November 17 last year.

He was found in possession of cocaine when he was detained, and had £400 on him, Preston Crown Court heard.

The homes of the defendant and his then girlfriend were then searched, revealing further drugs and a stash of designer clothes, bags, shoes, belts and a watch - including Louis Vuitton luggage, Prada and Armani items - and a £3,500 dental bill receipt.

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Crown Court

A further 27g of cocaine was found in a Canada Goose branded jacket, which was found to have his DNA on the cuff.

The prosecution argue they are criminal property that represent the "trappings of a drug dealer", and argue his wealth comes from his trade as a drug dealer.

Evans denies possession with intent to supply a class A drug and acquiring criminal property, relating to the cash and designer gear.

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The defendant argues he was making an honest living and entitled to spend his money as he chose, and says the items belonged to his ex-girlfriend who ran a business.

Jurors were told he had previous convictions for drug trafficking and a criminal career spanning many years.

Earlier in the proceedings a police officer gave evidence about texts found on Evans' phone.

Prosecutors say they represent drug dealing messages, but this is disputed by the defence.

During the case evidence was given about Evans being a member of a gym, including pictures he had taken of himself in a gym.

In evidence he had also remarked that he 'did not use banks'.

He was recalled to the witness stand after jurors raised a question about how he paid for a gym membership if he did not use a bank.

He told the court he used to pay by direct debit but as of September last year had been having bank problems and asked a friend to pay it by direct debit on his behalf.

Both the defence and prosecution have now closed their cases.

Addressing jurors, Recorder JR Jones QC, said they must be "dispassionate" when considering the facts.

He added: " There is no issue he had the drugs but what is an issue was the purpose or intent he had when he was in possession of these drugs.

"The defence case is he had them for his own personal use.

"The prosecution says the circumstances of the case reveal him to be a drug dealer."

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