‘Delivery men’ caught with £49,000 in sealed shoebox in Lea Bridge Road
- Credit: Snaresbrook crown court
Two “delivery men” found with £49,000 inside a sealed shoebox have been handed jail terms – but one of them has already served more time in prison than required whilst waiting to be sentenced.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how Umair Aslam, 30, and Waqas Mansha, 28, were told to stop by an undercover policeman on August 28 last year as they got into their car carrying the cash in a Sainsbury’s ‘bag for life’.
But according to the Crown’s prosecution barrister, Mansha, of Valognef Avenue, Walthamstow, drove towards him at about five mph - meaning he had to jump onto the bonnet “to avoid being run over or seriously injured”.
The pair, from Pakistan, drove off, but were pulled over by police in Lea Bridge Road.
They initially pleaded not guilty to transferring criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act, but changed their plea to guilty.
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Mansha also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
The court was told this “may not have been a one off” for Aslam, of Chamberlain Close, Ilford, who was found with a bag containing £59,960 on May 5 2015, when a search of his home also uncovered £70,700 in a holdall.
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Although he was not convicted at the time, the Crown claim that the fact he did not contest an order to seize the money meant “it was probably not obtained by legitimate means or he would have tried to claim it back”.
On Thursday Judge David Fisher QC sentenced Mansha to 15 weeks in prison for money laundering and six months in prison for dangerous driving to be served consecutively.
Aslam was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for money laundering - meaning he has spent six weeks longer in prison than his sentence requires.
Both men have both served the equivalent of nine months in prison, having been refused bail in August in case they committed further offences - despite neither having any previous convictions.
Their solicitor, Robert Jappie, from Mackrell Turner Garrett, criticised the decision, which he said placed an “unnecessary strain on the already overstretched prison services.”
He said: “The prisons appear to be at breaking point. These men could have easily been remanded on bail with stringent conditions restricting their movements whilst waiting for their cases to be concluded.
“However an overly cautious approach in respect of bail by the courts means that the prisons are crowded with non-violent inmates awaiting trial or sentence.”