Man who hid dirty cash in garden shed is jailed

Richard Clarke, Wendover. Convicted for money laundering, criminal property and drug offences.
Richard Clarke, Wendover. Convicted for money laundering, criminal property and drug offences.
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A man has been jailed for three-and-a-half years and ordered to forfeit £217,000 after being found guilty of money laundering.

Richard Clarke, 46, was found guilty after officers searched his Wendover home and discovered £217,140, split between two bags hidden in his garden shed and one in a holdall in a safe.

In this bag, officers also found two mobile phones and a large knife.

The cash was seized and Clarke was arrested.

In interview, he conceded the cash was drug money, but gave a convoluted and improbable account as to how the cash came to be in his possession.

Forensic examination linked the cash and one of the mobile phones to members of an organised crime group from the Bedfordshire area.

Clarke was found guilty at Amersham Crown Court, where he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment for entering into an arrangement which he knew or suspected would facilitate the acquisition, retention, or control of criminal property.

He was also sentenced to two months imprisonment for using criminal property and three days for possession of a class A drug, with the latter two sentenced to be served concurrently to the first.

After the trial, His Honour Judge Sheridan ordered the money to be forfeited.

Det Insp Gavin Tyrrell, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “This case was important on two different levels, firstly that a criminal was prosecuted successfully and is now serving a custodial sentence, but also that a considerable amount of money has been removed from the hands of criminals.

“This money, I have no doubt, was to be used to fund further criminal activities and its removal will serve to protect and safeguard our communities.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to urge people who know someone who they suspect is living on the proceeds of crime to contact Thames Valley Police or Crimestoppers.”

A/Det Sgt Jimmy Deans was commended by the judge for the investigation.