£250,000 cash found in the back of a lorry

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A LORRY driver was found with more than £250,000 in used banknotes after a raid at Portsmouth international ferry port.

Officials swooped on an articulated lorry where they discovered the cash stashed inside.

It’s suspected the money may be linked to crime and was being taken abroad to be hidden in overseas bank accounts.

A 53-year-old man from Merseyside was arrested on suspicion of concealing criminal property. He was later released on bail pending further inquiries.

The money has been confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act and can only be released by a court if proof can be provided that the money was legitimate.

The UK Border Agency, which carried out the raid, said the lorry had been due to travel from Portsmouth to Santander in Spain when it was stopped.

A spokesman for the UK Border agency said: ‘Officers stopped an outbound vehicle which was being driven by a British man.

‘A search of the lorry revealed cash totalling in excess of £250,000.

‘This was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

‘The man was arrested, interviewed and later released on bail. Inquiries are ongoing.

‘Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, anyone leaving the UK with more than £1,000 in cash must provide evidence for the source and intended use of the money or face having it detained.

‘This is to prevent money made from criminality being hidden in bank accounts and other assets overseas.’

The raid took place at about 8.30am on January 14, but details have only just been released.

Anyone convicted of concealing criminal property faces a fine and up to 14 years in jail.

The arrest comes two months after officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency stopped a van as it was leaving the ferry port in an unrelated incident.

As reported, about 26kg of cocaine with a potential street value of more than £7m was seized from the vehicle in the operation on November 3.

Seven men charged with conspiracy to supply a class A drug in connection with the find are due to stand trial at Portsmouth Crown Court in April.

They are Eric Ward, 52, of Copythorne Road, North End, Shaun Wilson, 42, of Madeira Road, North End, Mark Burgess, 42, of Village Road, Gosport, Richard Edwards, 47, of Kempton Road, east London, Roy Godber, 61, of Wennington Road, Rainham, Essex, and David Roberts, 58, and Jason Flisher, 33, both of no fixed abode.