FOUR MEN have been sentenced for their roles in delivering hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash to a Bradford firm as part of a multi-million pound money-laundering operation.

The four were couriers who delivered nearly £2 million in several visits to Fowler Oldfield in Hall Lane, Bowling.

Bradford Crown Court heard they were identified after police seized CCTV going back three weeks and a ledger book in a raid on September 8, 2016.

The court was told between two and eight couriers visited the premises of the gold and precious metal dealers a day, delivering up to £2 million.


The men, from the Merseyside area, all admitted charges of removing criminal property, namely monies, by means of transporting it to business premises in Bradford where it was laundered through a business bank account.

Jonathan Savage, prosecuting, told the court that it was a sophisticated operation handling huge amounts of cash and produced a useful source of funds by laundering cash for criminal gangs.

He said it was a large-scale criminal activity producing a large amount of cash and the facility provided by Fowler Oldfield was very useful.

Interested in crime news? Join our new Bradford Crime and Breaking News Facebook group

He said that the men were given money in payment for transporting bags to Fowler Oldfield.

They were captured on CCTV handing the cash over at reception and were usually given an envelope containing a token as proof of delivery.

The bags were then unpacked in a counting room, the money counted and the amount from each individual noted down in the ledger.

He said examination of the CCTV footage dating from August 17 showed multiple comings and goings with deliveries by a number of people depositing large amounts of cash which was then counted by employees.

Mr Savage said that one of the defendants, Liam Sells, received a text message to pick up a bag but did not know how much money was in it. He made deliveries to Fowler Oldfield on August 23 and 30, 2016, in his own Volkswagen Passat.

On the first date he was the fourth of six couriers, handing over black Slazenger holdall which was taken to the counting room. Bundles of cash totalling £254,120 were counted and entered in the ledger.

On the second occasion, he was the second of eight couriers and arrived with a Sainsbury’s shopping bag and a sports bag and received a white envelope. The cash, mainly in Scottish bank notes, amounted to £229,375.

The court heard that Sells, who is already serving a six-year sentence after being caught by police driving a van containing a quantity of cocaine, had a gambling debt and that if he had not delivered the money there would be consequences for himself and his family.

Mr Savage said that Joseph Murphy delivered £669,100 on three occasions, the first being on August 25 when he delivered a large suitcase that he struggled to lift containing 40 bundles of cash wrapped in black plastic that amounted to £200,000.

The next day he delivered a silver suitcase containing the same amount and then another suitcase containing £269,100.

The court heard that 78-year-old Murphy, a street dealer who had debts of £3,000 and was paid £450 a delivery, is due to have a heart bypass operation on Tuesday.

The third defendant, William Aspey, arrived at Fowler Oldfield in a Renault box van on August 18 and delivered a green bag which subsequently turned out to contain £95,000. The court was told he was the third courier that day.

Mr Savage said the final defendant, Daniel Mather, made three deliveries totalling £599,780 on August 19, 22 and 25, on each occasion dropping off a Nike holdall. On the third occasion it was padlocked and staff had to cut off the lock with pliers.

He was seen to receive an envelope from which he took a $1 bill as a token. He received £200 for each delivery.

Judge Colin Burn said the men were in debt, often in relation to gambling, and were targeted and recruited because of that vulnerability to play an intrinsic part in the money laundering operation.

He said: “Money laundering is all about moving money from illegal sources to legitimate ones.

“You took part in this extremely sophisticated operation with millions delivered to this Bradford firm who were seeking to launder proceeds of crime.”

The four men were sentenced to:

Liam Sells, 31, of Her Majesty’s Prison Lancaster, 12 months.

Joseph Murphy, 78, of Asser Road, Liverpool, 20 months suspended for two years with 20 rehabilitation requirement days.

William Aspey, 31, of Garside Grove, Wigan, six months suspended for 18 months with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Daniel Mather, 34, of Scotch Barn Lane, Liverpool, 20 months suspended for two years with 250 hours of unpaid work.