A MOTORIST stopped on the M6 in Cumbria because he was speeding has been stripped of the £20,000 in suspicious cash he had stuffed into a carrier bag.

Carlisle’s Rickergate court heard that the driver, who was pulled over by the police near to Junction 37 on the motorway on November 22 last year, had no reasonable explanation for why he had the bag full of money.

Cumbria Constabulary lawyer Gemma Rogerson outlined how the man claimed he was on his way to London from his home in Glasgow.

“He appeared nervous,” said the lawyer.

The man’s background included an historic conviction for possessing cannabis with intent to supply. When questioned about the cash, he said it had come from his takeaway business.

He said he was taking the cash to London to leave with a relative because he felt it was not safe in his flat in Glasgow. Yet when asked to provide the details on the aunt he said he was going to see he failed to do so.

He claimed the money was in English notes because he routinely swapped the money he took in his business for notes from south of the border. 

In a formal interview, the man was unable to provide paperwork linked to the business he said he ran, which he said he now wanted to sell. 

The court heard also about a police operation in Scotland in January of last year. Officers had raided a flat where cannabis was being grown. The suspect had leapt from a first floor window as he fled from the police and he was seen getting into a car.

The driver was identified as the man whose car was stopped on the M6.

After hearing those details, magistrates approved the forfeiture of the £20,000, saying they were satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that it was derived from criminal activity or intended for use in criminal activity.

The motorist involved had planned to oppose the application but withdrew his opposition on Monday of this week. He was not in court for the hearing.

The application, brought under Proceeds of Crime legislation, is the latest in a series of successful cases put before local courts by Cumbria Police. The cash seized is used in part to fund the county’s fight against crime.