Police were left feeling flush after discovering almost £40,000 stashed in a suspected money launderer’s toilet cistern.
Officers discovered the bounty of £38,610 at Helen Ross’s home in Walsall, West Midlands, after raiding the property with a drugs warrant.
The 41-year-old had no regular income but claimed she won the money through playing at casinos and on online bingo.
Ross also owned a Range Rover Evoque worth £40,000 and her social housing property was decked out with a brand new kitchen and conservatory.
The Birmingham Mail reports a judge at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court did not believe her wealth was gained through gambling and confiscated the cash through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Police were suspicious because she had previously worked part-time for a local company and had been off on maternity leave for some time while claiming housing benefit, child support and other benefits.
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.
The money will now go into the public purse to be used on community schemes and crime prevention initiatives.
Det Con Yvonne Barwani, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “There was insufficient evidence to charge Ross with drug dealing following the warrant − but that doesn’t mean we can’t pursue POCA proceedings to seize money or assets we believe derive from criminality.”
“She could not explain how she had been able to afford any of this expenditure,” Det Con Barwani said.
“Ross has flaunted her wealth in the community for many years, driving expensive cars and going on lavish holidays, despite having very little legitimate income.
“I’m sure news that we’ve seized the money will be welcomed by members of the community who get rightly frustrated at people living a high-earner lifestyle without actually working for the money.”