Men jailed over ‘dirty money’ exchanged outside Barnsley working men’s club

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Two men caught with £100,000 in a carrier bag outside a working men’s club in Barnsley have been jailed for money laundering.

They were seen exchanging the ‘dirty money’ in a bag for life outside the Harborough Hills Working Men’s Club, near Barnsley town centre, as part of a HM Revenue and Customs investigation.

John Rhinds, 72, of Bayview Crescent, Fife, Scotland, was observed approaching a parked car and passing a plastic bag to Sean Wroe, 34, of Halifax Street, Barnsley, in October 2014.

The pair were arrested at the scene.

When interviewed, Rhinds claimed he had received an anonymous phone call two days earlier asking him to leave his car unattended at a fast food restaurant in Edinburgh while a parcel was loaded into the boot, with instructions to deliver it to the working men’s club.

He claimed he had made the 230 mile journey without checking the parcel.

Jo Tyler, Assistant Director of HM Revenue and Custom’s fraud investigation service, said: “Both men gave a far-fetched version of events. It seems ridiculous that Rhinds would accept an anonymous call out of the blue, give an unknown person access to his car and then deliver a sinister package to a distant town – without even checking it was in the boot.

“This money was clearly the proceeds of crime, and today’s sentence serves as a reminder that HMRC will not tolerate people moving dirty money around the country at free will.”

Barman Wroe told investigators he had arrived for a shift at the club when an unknown man approached his car and passed a bag through the driver’s window.

In a second interview he claimed he had been at the club to buy cannabis and believed Rhinds was delivering the drug.

Analysis of Rhinds’ mobile phone linked the pair, and roadside cameras established that he had made an almost identical journey to Barnsley three days earlier.

Both men pleaded guilty to money laundering and were jailed for a year.

The club was not involved in the criminality.