West Midlands Police have seized almost £40,000 hidden in a toilet cistern from a suspected money launderer.
Officers found the bathroom bounty during a drugs warrant executed at Helen Ross’s home in Dartford Road in Walsall on 26 September last year.
41-year-old Ross, whose social housing property boasted a new high-spec kitchen and conservatory, claimed the bulk of the money was from casino and online bingo winnings.
However, officers from the Payback Team at West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit probed her bank transactions and betting accounts and could find no evidence of her landing any bumper winnings.
They discovered she had squandered thousands of pounds through online sites and had paid for extensive home improvements and a Range Rover Evoque despite having no clear income stream.
She initially contested the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) application to seize the cash but at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday dropped her defence in the face of compelling evidence put to the judge by Payback detectives.
A total of £38,610 was seized from her and will be put back into the public purse to be used on community schemes and crime prevention initiatives.