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Somerset man jailed after £370,000 found in his garage

By This is Bath  |  Posted: January 24, 2011

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A man has been jailed for nine years after police found more than £370,000 in cash hidden in a void above his garage doors.

Peter Martin, 65, of Norton St Philip, near Bath, received substantial sums of money from the drugs trade and funded his life-style by laundering it, Taunton Crown Court was told.

Many of the banknotes found at his home were contaminated with heroin.

Martin was convicted at Bristol Crown Court last month of concealing criminal property, converting criminal property and fraudulently obtaining a mortgage by deception.

He was found to have lied about his earnings to mortgage lenders, claiming to be making £87,000 a year as an electrician, and to have paid cash into his bank account to purchase his home.

A jury was also told he spent more than £70,000 on home improvements, doubling the size of his 1950s house and building a large garage and workshop. He was also said to have spent thousands of pounds on flying lessons.

Judge Graham Hume Jones said his bank statements between 2003 and July 2008 showed £260,000 was paid into his bank account.

The judge added he was quite satisfied the money was from drug trafficking and it could be no coincidence that samples were contaminated with heroin.

Martin could not explain to the police where the money came from and his explanation to the jury was rejected.

"In my judgment, you have no defence to this case", said the judge.

"I am quite satisfied you were in receipt of substantial sums of money from drug trafficking and funding your own lifestyle and others, and you were laundering that money."

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