19 Nov, 2017 @ 17:51
1 min read

British shop assistant spent over €210,000 on luxury holidays to Spain while still claiming benefits thanks to family-run cocaine business, court hears

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A BRITISH shop assistant splashed out £200,000 on luxury holidays with her husband thanks to a family-run cocaine trafficking racket, a court has heard.

Colleen Campbell, 33, worked part time for clothes store Matalan and was said to rely on tax credits.

But a jury was told how Colleen and her husband Thomas enjoyed extravagant trips to Gran Canaria, Mallorca, Mexico, Egypt and Bulgaria.

Thomas, also 33, claimed to be a personal trainer but was pictured during his holidays ‘carrying a bit of weight’, a jury heard.

In December 2013, the couple travelled in ‘premium seats’ to Cancun in Mexico for a 10-day holiday with their children, staying at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel.

The Manchester family enjoyed luxury accommodation, including a Jacuzzi, 24-hour room service as well as an X-box gaming console.

The £10,000 trip was paid for in cash.

The pair stand accused of laundering drug money so they could keep living the ‘high life’, Manchester Crown Court heard.

They also allegedly recruited members of their family, including both of their mothers, to help wash the money.

Between 2012 and 2016, Colleen put down cash deposits on BMWs, Audis and Mercedes, using monthly instalments to pay until upgrading to a better model.

Prosecuting Henry Blackshaw said: “This couple are a big fish in a medium pond living well off the back of criminality.

“They are charged with being involved in criminal property, using the cash and being able to spend it in legitimate ways.

“Together the family connections contributed to the way that Thomas and Colleen were living. They benefited from extreme profit off the back of illegal drug dealing.

Theresa Bowden, 59, Colleen’s mother, and Lynn Campbell, 60, Thomas’ mother are also accused of laundering the money.

Both Lynn and Theresa often joined them on these trips, again paying all in cash at travel agents across Manchester.

A jury at Manchester Crown Court that both sides of the family had links to family members who had been convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine.

Campbell’s brother Lee Campbell and his cousin Stephen Campbell have both been convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine.

The hearing continues


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