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Probe into £20k cash in tea, nappies and sanitary towels in airport luggage

Stansted Airport control tower  Picture: WILL LODGE

Stansted Airport control tower Picture: WILL LODGE

Archant

Customs officials have been granted six months to investigate the source of £20,000 concealed in packs of tea, nappies and sanitary towels inside luggage at Stansted Airport.

The discovery was made inside the checked luggage of two travellers on Monday, March 25.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) went before magistrates in Ipswich last week to apply for the continued detention of the seized cash, in accordance with section 295 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The bench heard the discovery was made at about at about 9pm inside the luggage of two travellers, who failed to declare the cash at the outbound customs clearance channel.

The money had yet to be fully counted by the time the application was made, but was estimated to be in the region of £20,000 in total.

Authorities said the cash was “concealed within a variety of packing, including tea, nappies and sanitary towels”.

The travellers possessed no documentation to demonstrate the origin of the money, said HMRC.

“The method of concealing the cash draws questions over legitimacy,” magistrates heard.

Both were travelling from the airport to Turkey when the cash was seized.

HMRC said both travellers had been informed that the application for continued detention of seized cash was due to be made at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday.

Neither of the travellers, a 38-year-old and 48-year-old, both from Sittingbourne, in Kent, appeared at court or made representations.

Magistrates agreed to grant the application for further detention in their absence.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the period for which seized cash can be detained by HMRC may be extended by six months, subject to an order being made by a magistrates’ court, for further investigation to be carried out into its origin.

The applicant must have reasonable grounds for suspecting the cash is recoverable property, obtained through unlawful conduct or intended for use in unlawful conduct.

All travellers must declare cash notes, coins, bankers’ drafts and cheques worth more than 10,000 Euros, or the equivalent in another currency, if travelling between the UK and any non-EU country.

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