£465,000 found under bath tub

ROBERT McGivern, the son of Bernadette and Harold McGivern,was jailed last month for five and a half years after being found guilty of a total of 16 offences.

McGivern, 38, of Bridge End Road, Red Lodge, had denied all the charges but was convicted by a jury of concealing criminal property, having stolen goods, handling stolen goods and fraud, following a trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

The charges followed a police raid on the Ponderosa scrap yard at Red Lodge in September last year as part of an investigation codenamed Operation Basil.

During Robert McGivern's trial the court heard how officers discovered stolen cars, construction machinery, a tractor and a generator at the yard during a two-day search.

Prosecutor John Farmer told the jury that one of the most striking aspects of the case was what was found hidden beneath McGivern's bath.

When the side panel was removed, police recovered 465,000 in banknotes which Mr Farmer said was "clearly the proceeds of crime".

The bathroom in question was in part of the house which had been partitioned off and was used only by McGivern, said Mr Farmer.

Outside in the scrapyard had been a criminal operation involving the dismantling of illegally obtained vehicles.

Mr Farmer said: "Here was a legitimate, genuine business that was being used as a front for processing stolen vehicles."

McGivern's illegal activities spanned the period between January 2003 and September last year, the jury were told.

The court heard how he had used a false name when selling 145,000 worth of scrap metal to a processing company, receiving payment in cash which made it difficult to trace, said Mr Farmer.

Suggestions by McGivern when arrested that the cash found at his home had been the proceeds of transactions by his scrap metal business were "farcical"", said Mr Farmer, who added: "He had no legitimate explanation for this money."

If sales of scrap metal had been the result of vehicles having been legally acquired there would have been the statutory records kept but no such records existed, said Mr Farmer.

McGivern claimed that while he had not kept adequate records, the money found by police beneath his bath had all come from legitimate scrapyard dealings.