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Crime unit seizes house and pub over unpaid fees

Crimefighters have seized control of a house and pub after two members of an east Belfast family defaulted on a legal settlement to hand over £250,000 in assets.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) said that it was granted a High Court recovery order against bar owner Hugh Ludlow and his partner's daughter Shelley Anderson.

SOCA tackles serious organised crime involving class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud, computer crime and money laundering.

Civil proceedings were first |initiated by SOCA in this case over allegations of cigarette smuggling.

In February last year the agency was granted a consent order against Mr Ludlow, of Montrose Street, and Ms Anderson, from Millview Court, both in Belfast, alleging the majority of their assets were derived illegally.

As part of the agreement a newsagents on the city's Albertbridge Road and the contents of 11 bank accounts were to be forfeited immediately.

Another condition involved the payment of a sum of cash within a certain timescale.

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A house in east Belfast and the Belvoir Bar on the Newtownards Road remained subject to a property freezing order until the terms of the settlement were met.

The pub is in a loyalist neighbourhood and is permanently decorated with Union flags and loyalist banners.

It appears on an internet list |of ‘Bluenose Bars’ which are frequented by Glasgow Rangers supporters.

SOCA returned to court claiming that Mr Ludlow and Ms Anderson had defaulted on the resolution agreed last year and they therefore wanted to seize the properties.

The agency said yesterday that a judge has now granted a |recovery order against both properties.

The intoxicating liquor licence associated with the pub was also recovered.

The outcome brings to an end a case first referred by HM Revenue and Customs back in 2005.

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