A king pin of the criminal world has been jailed for 18 years.
Great grandfather George Evans came across as an ordinary pensioner but he and his wife, Anne Evans, were living a life of luxury off the proceeds of a drug network – and claiming benefits.
In July George Evans was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine. He and his wife were also found guilty of money laundering resulting from the proceeds of George Evans’ involvement in drugs. The pair, who live in High Road, Beeston, were sentenced today (Friday, September 7). Anne Evans was jailed for 18 months for her part in the money laundering offences.
Detective chief inspector Shane Roberts from Bedfordshire Police said: “George was one of the king pins in an organised crime network.”
“He lived a glamorous lifestyle; trips abroad, personal aeroplanes, expensive cars, a big house; it was all there. His wife, who is in her mid 50s, enjoyed the trappings of the good life as much as he did,” he added.
The pair had been living on cash for several years, suggesting that their income was illicit. George held a pilot’s license and at one stage owned three aeroplanes. He also had a Jaguar and a Rolls Royce.
George, now 76, came to the attention of Bedfordshire Police in November 2009 when French police stopped a Ford Ranger, which he owned.
The pick-up truck was being driven back to the UK from Spain a by Brian Smith, against whom charges were later dropped as he was unaware of the concealed goods.
The vehicle had been equipped with specially constructed hollow roof bars hidden between the tarpaulins that covered its load carrying area. The French authorities found 29kg of cocaine inside these roof bars. It had a purity of around 68 per cent and when cut down into street deals it would have been worth around £3million.
George had flown down to Girona in Spain to meet Mr Smith before leaving him to drive the truck and concealed goods alone.
At the time the Evans were already being investigated by the Financial Investigation Unit following an inexplicable increase in their fortune.
In April 2009 they had paid £410,000 for a house outright, which was remarkable because only two years previously they had had to sell a house because they were unable to keep up with numerous financial payments including the mortgage payments. They had very little left after the sale.
George and Anne were both claiming state benefits and neither had declared any income to the Inland Revenue.
Four months after the drugs were confiscated in France, on March 19, Anne phoned the police and reported that George had gone missing and she feared he had been kidnapped.
Police searched the house, as with any missing person enquiry, and found about 5kg of Benzocaine in a locked outhouse. This is recognised as a cutting agent for class A drugs.
Two days later George knocked on the door of a random house in Marston Moretaine. He had had a hole drilled in his foot and various parts of his body had been electrocuted. He later told the police that he had been kidnapped but refused to say any more about it. At the trial the prosecution suggested that the kidnap and torture were related to the loss of the drugs in France.
Police searched George’s rented workshop in Great Barford and found a further 18kg of Benzocaine along with welding gear and a Mercedes Sprinter van. They also discovered another metal smuggling rig designed to fit the Sprinter in a similar way to the confiscated Ford Ranger.
George and Anne were put on trial at Luton Crown Court in October 2011 but during the course of the trial further information emerged. Due to the legal complexities and further unexpected disclosures the trial had to be adjourned and was re-set for July.
The assets that the police traced in the course of the investigation have been placed under restraint. There will be an application to have these assets confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Det Chief Insp Shane Roberts said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act provides a unique opportunity to bring to justice those generating profit from crime and those living off it.
“Historically gangsters’ wives have lived on in luxury with impunity but this is no longer the case. A confiscation process will now also be implemented to strip the Evans of everything they have which has been bought from the proceeds of crime.”
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service said: “Mr Evans was involved in a professional and organised operation to import substantial quantities of Class A drugs into the UK from Spain. His wife, Mrs Evans, chose to ignore her husband’s criminality and sat back and enjoyed the proceeds of his lawless behaviour.
“The impact on communities of this high level drug importation is immense. Drugs ruin the lives of those who use them and damage the lives of law abiding citizens who become the victims of crimes committed to fund drug habits. Mr and Mrs Evans were motivated purely by money, without a care for the misery on which their potential millions were mounted.
“Thanks to a dedicated and detailed police investigation, followed by robust prosecution, a substantial quantity of Class A drugs have been removed from the supply chain, these big time criminals have been removed from society and the public has been made safe from their dangerous, harmful, and life destroying activities.”
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