Former Leamington pub landlord made more than £50,000 by acting as a courier for large sums of criminal cash

As we reported last year, he was jailed for the offence - this week he was ordered to pay back just £823.02 after the court heard that he had less than £1,000 in available assets

A former Leamington pub landlord who is serving time for acting as a courier for large sums of criminal cash was assessed as making more than £50,000 from his illegal activity.

But Jason Docker, the ex-landlord of the Cricketers Arms in Archery Road, Leamington, has less than £1,000 in available assets, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has been told.

Docker (51) of Warwick New Road, Leamington, who had an encrypted phone on him when he was arrested, was jailed for 22 months last year after he admitted concealing criminal property.

Warwick Crown Court

Advertisement

But on that occasion a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation into his finances.

At the resumed hearing prosecutor Paul Mitchell said Docker’s benefit from his crime was assessed as £53,508.

And because it was accepted a pension Docker has is not an ‘available asset’ for the purpose of confiscation, his assets came to a total of just £823.02.

Rebecca Wade, defending, said that included the value of a guitar which is of sentimental importance to Docker - and will be returned to him after his mother has agreed to pay its value.

Advertisement

So Judge Barry Berlin ordered the £823.02 to be paid within 14 days – with Docker facing a further 14 days in jail if it is not paid within that time.

During the original hearing Mr Mitchell said that in May last year Docker was followed by the police as he drove northwards on the M40 in a black Chrysler Voyager.

He was stopped after turning onto the A46 Warwick by-pass, and in the car officers found that behind the front seat was a hidden compartment which was secured by a magnetic lock.

When it was forced open they found four carrier bags containing a total of £183,990 in cash.

Advertisement

From the car they also recovered a BQ Aquaris phone which had the controversial and expensive EncroChat encryption software on it – which is said to be used by criminal gangs in Europe.

Mr Mitchell said that until very recently the phones had been considered impossible to access without the contents being deleted, ‘but it has recently been possible to do so.’

And information and messages discovered on the phone showed it had been used since at least April 1 to direct the picking up and distribution of large sums of cash.

“It can be attributed to the defendant from at least the 16th of April, because evidence shows it travelling to places all over the country at the same time that his own personal phone has travelled to them.”

Advertisement

Rebecca Wade, defending, said: “It’s accepted he was a courier and was acting on directions, and it’s clear from the EncroPhone that he was being instructed where to go.

“Plainly he has facilitated organised criminals to move large sums of money around the country.”

Miss Wade said that for over 50 years Docker had led a law-abiding and blameless life, moving to Australia in his 20s and returning to this country in 2014.

“Having arrived back, he wasted no time building up a new life for himself. He took over the management of the Cricketers Arms pub, which he ran successfully until December [2019].

Advertisement

She said that after then leaving the pub, he had done odd jobs, but after those disappeared when Covid-19 struck he was then approached to ‘make deliveries.’

Jailing him, Recorder Charles Falk had told Docker: “You pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property, a substantial quantity of cash.

“I accept your role was that of a courier, but that was a significant role because whoever recruited you knew a high degree of trust could be placed in you.

“I accept you are no danger to the public, and I accept you are unlikely to come before the court again.

Advertisement

“However, the fact is you took a gamble. You were prepared to take on a high degree of risk, and to do that you must have been expecting a high degree of reward.

“You were providing a service to sophisticated criminals. If that gamble fails, then punishment must follow.”