Leeds drug dealing gang jailed after discovery of £1m in cash in secret safes

Credit: WY Police
Two safes were uncovered at Hamid Ali's property in Beeston after he claimed it had been set on fire. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Two safes containing nearly £1million in cash were discovered hidden at a house after the owner told police he had been the victim of an arson attack.

Hamid Ali, 61, told officers guarding a crime scene a fire had been started at his home on Town Street, Beeston, Leeds.

When police arrived they found the house had been damaged by gun shots.The safes were found underneath the tiled floor of an outbuilding where a dog was kept during investigations on 5 March 2022.

A locksmith was called in to open the safes, which were found to contain a large amount of cash. 

One safe had 365 bundles of notes. The other contained numerous bundles of notes in carrier bags. The total amount recovered was just short of £1million. 

Hamid Ali and his son Damien Ali were arrested on 7 March and interviewed about the money. 

Their fingerprints were found on a carrier bag from one of the safes. 

Police also found a label with the address of 53-year-old Alan Vessey, of Northcote Green, Beeston.

Hundreds of thousands were found during the searches in the form of bank notes. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

They searched his flat and found over £329,000 of cash, along with cocaine, heroin and £224,000 worth of watches.

Further searches uncovered more than £200,000 in cash along with more class A drugs, including some in a large trunk in the living room labelled "drugs".

A money counting machine, scales, gloves and other dealing paraphernalia were also found. 

Fingerprints linked Damien Ali and Hamid Ali to the address. They were charged with drug dealing.

Vessey was jailed for five years and eight months for possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and possession of criminal property. 

Further enquiries linked Damien and Hamid Ali to three accomplices.

Clockwise from top left: Damien Ali, Hamid Ali, Jordan Staten, Jason Pallas, John Collett. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

All five men were given prison sentences for their parts in the drug dealing conspiracy.

Damien Ali, 42, of Town Street, Beeston, was jailed for 10 years and two months; Hamid Ali was sentenced to five years; Jordan Staten, 34, of Normanton Place, Beeston, was jailed for 28 months; Jason Pallas, 46, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years and three months; John Collett, 37, of Bismarck Street, Beeston, was sentenced to five years and 10 months.  

Det Insp Michael Herbert said: “Damien Ali has played a very significant role in the organised supply of Class A drugs in Leeds for some time and is responsible for a large amount of the serious harm that this illicit trade creates in our communities. 

“His drug dealing activities have been linked to a number of violent incidents in south Leeds, including where firearms have been discharged, which illustrates the wider dangers that it brings. 

“The huge amounts of money that have been uncovered during our investigations show just how much people like him profit from the human misery that Class A drugs bring to individual users, their families and to local communities where they fuel crime and anti-social behaviour. 

“We will be continuing to proactively target individuals like him, and we hope the significant sentences he and his associates have received will provide some reassurance to our communities.” 

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