Father tried to smuggle £82,000 cash for gang to help son pay off debt

By Adrian Darbyshire in Crime

A Liverpool man was jailed this week for two years and three months after attempting to smuggle £82,260 in drug money out of the island.

Edward Anthony Sutton, of Rufford Close, Liverpool, told police he was working for a gang in order to pay off his son’s £20,000 debt.

Sutton, who is 62, will serve his sentence in England and was also banned from the Isle of Man for five years once he is released from prison.

A confiscation order, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, was made to seize the £82,260.

We previously reported how, on March 24, Sutton was staying at the Empress Hotel in Douglas.

Police suspected him of possessing a large amount of money relating to criminal activity.

He was arrested in his hotel room and a small amount of cash was found along with the key to a Saab car.

Sutton gave police directions to where the car was parked at Esplanade Mews, on Central Promenade, Douglas.

A secret compartment was found between the back seats and the boot. Inside were bank notes totalling £82,260. Sutton gave a ’no comment’ interview after his arrest.

Sutton entered a basis of plea, which was accepted by the prosecution, saying that he had not created the compartment, had not wrapped the money, did not know how much there was, and had only been told to drive the car to the island and back.

Sutton said his son had been jailed for drug offences and the gang told him he was responsible for his son’s debt of £20,000. He was given the option of paying or doing jobs for the gang.

Defending Sutton in court advocate Stephen Wood said that his client and his family had been subjected to threats.

Mr Wood said: ’This is related to wishing to protect his son and help him out of a hole.

’There are criminal operations in Liverpool, that is not in dispute. There are some truly evil people out there and my client is fearful for the future.

’This is likely to haunt him for many years. Will there be a man at his door saying "what about this £100,000 you owe?"

’It is likely he’ll have to uproot from Liverpool. He didn’t have any dealings with putting the money in the car.’

Deemster Alastair Montgomerie said while passing sentence: ’You accept it was the proceeds of drug trafficking.

’In my view you had a significant role in a gang-led sophisticated operation.

’I say sophisticated because the gang gave you a car, registered and insured in your name. I can understand you wanted to assist your son.

’If you’re going to do that I would suggest you both relocate from the Liverpool area otherwise I would suggest you will be back before the court again.’