A money launderer who set up a sophisticated social club in his back garden has been ordered to pay back £63,000 or face 12 months behind bars.
Back in February 2017 officers from Northumbria Police executed a drugs warrant at Jamie Blake’s home address in North Shields.
They were expecting to find illegal substances but discovered Blake, 39, had a purpose-built, unregulated social club in his back garden, complete with flat screens and a fully furnished bar offering a range a tipples.
Officers estimate that the facility cost in the region of £35,000 to build.
A total of thirteen unlicensed gambling and gaming machines were also located and seized.
After emptying the gaming machines officers found a bundle of used notes stashed in a cooker hood in the kitchen of the property and seized more than £14,600 in cash.
Blake was arrested and subjected to a full investigation by officers from Northumbria Police’s Economic Crime Unit.
Officers were able to access Blake’s bank accounts, where it was quickly established that he was funding an extravagant lifestyle with expensive furnishings for his home and numerous holidays abroad- without showing any sign of employment.
In April 2019, Blake, of Wantage Avenue, North Shields, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court and pleaded guilty to three counts of transferring criminal property, one count of possession of criminal property and one count of abstracting electricity at his home address.
Last year he was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years after appearing at Newcastle Crown Court.
And last week he was back at that same court after police launched an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize any assets he may have.
A judge ordered Blake to pay back a total of £63,076.41 within three months or face a 12 month stint behind bars.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brooks said: “Blake thought he had gotten away with his crimes and was living a life of luxury but the law soon caught up with him.
“This was an excellent display of police work by officers and great example of the continued work under Operation Sentinel. It required a lot of intelligence gathering as well as evidence recovery and tactical policing, all across a long period of time in order to secure a conviction.”
He added: "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.”
Get in touch by visiting the Northumbria Police website and using our ‘Tell Us Something’ function.