England news

Michael Branch ordered to pay fine

November 19, 2013
By Mike Whalley

Former Everton striker Michael Branch has been told by a court to pay back more than £31,000 he made as a drug dealer or face an extra 14 months in prison.

Michael Branch
EmpicsMichael Branch: In hot water.

The 35-year-old was jailed for seven years at Chester Crown Court in November 2012 after admitting possession with intent to supply class A and class B drugs.

Police seized 1kg of cocaine from Branch’s Liverpool home in July 2012, while he was also found to have handed over just under 3kg of amphetamine to another man at a car park in the city in March that year.

The former footballer had an attempt to reduce the length of his sentence dismissed by the Court of Appeal in February.

And at a hearing on Tuesday, he was told to pay back within six months a total of £31,894 -- a sum equivalent to all of his remaining assets -- of the £79,402 he gained through drug dealing, or face a further 14 months in prison.

Judge David Hale, passing the judgement, said in court: "As a result of your stupidity, your whole world has gone. If you thought it was easy money, it was not.

"Not only are you serving your sentence, you are ordered to pay £31,894 which is, in fact, every asset you have."

A one-time England Under-21 international, Branch played 41 times for Everton after making his debut in 1996.

He had loan spells with Manchester City, Birmingham and Wolves before making a permanent move to Molineux in 2000.

Branch’s career later fizzled out after spells at Bradford and Chester, and he finished playing non-league football for Halifax and Burscough.