Drug dealer's art and antiques sold in bid to recover profits from his crimes

THIS painting, thought to be by Dutch master Cornelis Dusart, was auctioned yesterday when the fine art collection of a convicted drug dealer went under the hammer in Yorkshire.

It was among more than 100 items, including a Tiffany and Co silver waiter and two 18-carat gold Breguet gentlemen's watches which had belonged to Philip Meadows who was jailed in April 2008.

Together, the lots sold for more than 48,000. Some pieces fetched many times their estimate, including a painting that sold for 1,900 when its guide price was no more than 250.

Meadows, 70, was sentenced to nine and a half years after he was arrested in Doncaster and found in possession of three kilos of cocaine with a street value of 148,000.

At a confiscation hearing at Doncaster Crown Court in March last year an order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act that Meadows had made more that 520,000 from his crimes.

But officers found he only had assets worth 325,780.81 including antiques, his homes in Lancing, West Sussex, and Malaga, Spain, and a BMW car.

Head of South Yorkshire Police's economic crime unit, Graham Wragg: "There is no suggestion that any of the items are stolen. It's merely how Meadows chose to spend the profits from a lifetime of criminality. The monies raised will now come back into the community."