A NERVOUS motorist whose car was stopped on the M6 by the police because he was “lane hogging” was transporting a bag containing £125,000 in suspicious cash.

At Carlisle’s Rickergate court, magistrates gave Cumbria Police permission to continue holding the money for three months so that further investigation can be done to establish its origins. 

The driver involved has disclaimed ownership of the money.

During a 15-minute hearing, a Cumbria Police financial investigator told the court about how police discovered the money, which was mainly Scottish bank notes.

He said: “On Saturday, February 17, at approximately 1pm, officers who were travelling south between junctions 42 and 41 on the M6 noticed a Vauxhall Mokka which was travelling needlessly in the second lane.”

Checks made through the police national computer confirmed that the car was registered to a person who lives in the London area.

Concerned that the driver may be tired, the patrolling officers decided to stop the car so that they could speak to the driver.

When the car stopped, the officers approached and asked the driver to accompany them back to their vehicle so they could speak further to him.

They established that the man was a London based Kosovan national, with a good understanding of English. When asked where he had been, he said he had visited an Albanian friend for a few days. Police information suggested that this could not be correct, the investigator told magistrates.

“He also changed his story, saying that he had travelled up that morning to meet somebody,” said the officer. “The officers noted that he was shaking and sweating.

“They didn’t believe his story.”

For this reason, the officers searched the defendant’s car, finding two mobile phones and, in the car’s rear passenger footwell, a carrier bag containing a JD Sports ban, in which were bundles of bank notes.

The investigator continued: “The officers asked about the cash.

“Basically, he said he was asked to go up to Glasgow to collect it and he was taking it back to the London area. He was going to a petrol station to hand the package over.

He said he did not know what was in the bag.” The man said he had nothing to do with the money.

He claimed he was just “doing a favour” for a person he would not name. Nor would the man name the petrol station where the money was due to be handed over.

The investigator said the police investigation would involve the analysis of the seized phones and a forensic examination of the cash.

Magistrates approved the continued detention if the cash. Cumbria Police are likely to ask for the money’s forfeiture at a future hearing if no legitimate source for it can be found.