Wife of alleged Hartlepool drug dealer spared jail after admitting money laundering offences

The wife of an alleged Hartlepool drug dealer has been sentenced for handling over £125,000 of criminal cash.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 7:00 am

Andrew Bransom is said to have run his illegal operation from Bodywise Gym in Stockton Road, Hartlepool, described as a ‘corner shop’ for local drug dealers.

His wife Samantha Bransom, who helped run the gym, admitted money laundering charges linked to her late husband’s alleged drugs business.

Teesside Crown Court heard police raided the gym on November 10, 2017 and discovered around £29,000 worth of high purity cocaine, a £22,000 cannabis farm and hundreds of pills.

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The former Bodywise Gym in Stockton Road, Hartlepool, where a police raid uncovered thousands of pounds worth of drugs including high purity cocaine and a cannabis farm in November 2017.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said it appeared Mr Bransom was supplying Class A drugs to other dealers from the gym.

He was charged with drug trafficking offences but died of a terminal brain tumour last July while awaiting trial.

Samantha, 44, admitted depositing over £126,000 of criminal proceeds in three bank accounts between March and November 2017.

She also moved money between accounts and emptied them of £110,592 within three days of the raid on the gym.

The case was dealt with by Teesside Crown Court.

Mr Newcombe said she emptied two bank accounts in her name and a joint account with her husband using bankers drafts leaving them all with a nil balance or overdrawn.

He said: “It’s likely, say the Crown, all the monies were transferred to northern Cyprus in order to frustrate the police investigation and any attempt to recover their criminal assets.”

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Two months before the raid on the gym Samantha Bransom transferred £50,000 to a Turkish solicitor as part of a property purchase.

Joanne Kidd, defending, said the Mr Bransom planned see out his days in Cyprus and the money transfers were not an attempt to flee the country.

She said: “Mrs Bransom found herself on the day of her arrest thrust in a position of panic, confusion and dismay, and her decision three days afterwards to transfer that money was in reality the height of her conscious decision to move that money.

"She has always sought and continues to maintain she had no awareness or involvement in the actual drug dealing.”

Samatha Bransom, of Wansbeck Gardens, Hartlepool, was given a 12-month community order.

Judge Deborah Sherwin said she had served the equivalent of an 18-month sentence from 1,037 days on a tagged curfew and five weeks in custody.

Proceeds of crime proceedings are underway.

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