North Shields 'social club' money launderer to pay back £63k

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image copyrightNorthumbria Police
image captionThe premises were complete with a fully-stocked bar

A money launderer who built a social club in his back garden has been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds or face 12 months behind bars.

Jamie Blake was unable to explain how he funded his lavish lifestyle when police raided his North Shields home.

In 2020 he was handed a suspended term after admitting three counts of transferring criminal property.

Following an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act, he must now pay back £63,000 within three months.

During a search for drugs at Blake's home in Wantage Avenue in 2017, Northumbria Police discovered a purpose-built, unregulated social club in an outhouse in his back garden.

It included 13 unlicensed gambling machines, a pool table, flat screen TVs and a bar stocked with drinks.

Cash was also seized, and a bank search established he was funding an extravagant lifestyle with expensive home furnishings and numerous holidays abroad without any sign of employment.

image copyrightNorthumbria Police
image captionPolice estimated the outhouse cost £35,000 to build

After pleading guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to three counts of transferring criminal property, one count of possession of criminal property and one count of abstracting electricity, he was sentenced two years imprisonment suspended for two years.

Speaking after Blake was ordered to pay back the money, Det Ch Insp Martin Brooks said: "Blake thought he had got away with his crimes and was living a life of luxury but the law soon caught up with him.

"We would always ask that members of the public are vigilant and if you see someone living beyond their means, or know that someone is leading a luxury lifestyle and something doesn't add up, please get in touch with us."

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