A KENILWORTH man involved in storing, counting and transporting vast amounts of drugs money was caught with a staggering £625,000 in cash.
And jailing him for six years, a judge at Warwick Crown Court pointed out to Jake Neilson it represented 62,500 street deals of class A drugs.
The 30-year-old, of School Lane, had pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said on June 8 Neilson was seen by plain-clothed police officers driving his Ford Focus in the Tile Hill area of Coventry.
As they kept him under observation, he went into an address in Berners Close carrying a bag, and then left and was driving around Coventry, stopping at various locations.
Neilson then returned to the house in Berners Close and went in carrying a white bag which appeared to be heavy, before leaving carrying the same bag which he put into the rear of the car.
He drove off again, but was stopped by the police in nearby Bushbery Avenue.
When the car was then searched they discovered a secret compartment under the rear seat where a box with a sliding lid had been fitted into the space.
It was opened, and inside was a vacuum packed package of cash, and Neilson was arrested.
A total of £200,000 in cash was found in the car, and the police also seized a vacuum packer and a phone.
The house was then searched, and officers discovered a void in the wall in which more cash, about £250 of which was counterfeit, and a banknote counting machine.
Mr Simpson said that when the money from the car and the house was all counted, there was a total of £625,505.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC, who ordered the confiscation of the cash and the counting machine, observed: “If the underlying offence is drugs, it represents 62,500 £10 deals.”
Blondel Thompson, defending, said: “This is a man of previous good character who finds himself before the court at the age of 30, but if you’re unfortunate enough to get involved in this, you stand alone.”
She said Neilson had gained a university degree in engineering, but was unable to obtain work in that field and had been working as a plant manager at a scrap yard.
When that job went, so did his accommodation, and he was offered free accommodation at the address in Berners Close – and was then asked if he would like a job ‘delivering and dropping things off.’
“He was offered £500 per week and, without any money to his name, he accepted it. My instructions are that it was the second week when he was caught,” said Miss Thompson.
Jailing Neilson, Judge Lockhart told him: “People might say it’s a victimless crime. It is not. I am absolutely sure that 62,500 deals of drugs were made in order that this amount of cash could be available to those who wanted to profit from that trade.
“You were out and about in Coventry. You were plainly moving about large quantities of cash.
“You are an engineer and had the ability to create in your car a void in which to store the cash, and in your home was another void.
“It’s clear you were trusted, and you had a cash counting machine. This is a simply vast amount of cash. You were plainly close to those who were heavily involved in serious offending.”