A CONVICTED drug dealer has been ordered to pay back more than £9,000 after drugs and cash were found in her car in Dorset.

Maria Suzanne Parnell, 55, was stopped by police in Blackmore Road in Shaftesbury, and, following a search of her vehicle and handbag, a ‘substantial’ amount of drugs and cash were found.

Around £12,700 of drugs were seized, along with £850 in cash.

She was arrested and charged after being stopped in July 2019, before being sentenced to 42 months in prison in March 2022.

Parnell had pleaded guilty to three counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and one count of possession with intent to supply class B drugs.

She returned to Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday, February 5 for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

During the hearing, the court ruled that the total benefit figure from Parnell’s offending amounted to £53,309.90.

It ruled the total available amount was £9,537.66, which Parnell, from Semley in Wiltshire, must pay within three months, or she will face an additional prison sentence of six months.

Detective constable Scott Brimicombe, of Dorset Police’s economic crime unit, said: “I hope this case demonstrates that we will use POCA legislation where it is available to take illegal earnings from criminals.

“As with all Proceeds of Crime confiscation orders, the outstanding benefit figure is still owed and the case will be reviewed in the future to ascertain if the defendant has acquired further assets.”