Four bungling crooks who gave a new meaning to the term “money laundering” when they put a haul of stolen cash through a washing machine to clean off security dye have been sentenced to a total of 15 years in jail.
Cornell Burrell, 26, Nicholas Hazelden, 23, Ray Lewis, 27, and Gary Walker, 42, were caught in the act as they hung the sodden £20 notes out to dry in the bathroom of a south London flat.
Prosecutor Allister Walker told the Old Bailey: “The method seems to have been to put the cash in a pillow case before loading the machine.
They quite literally laundered the cash.” Dyed liquid was sprayed over the £27,000 haul, staining it purple, when gang members broke open the metal box in which it was held, having snatched it during a cash-in-transit raid outside a Santander bank branch in Penge High Street last October.
The blundering robbers, who did not bother to cover their faces, were caught within hours after using a green Jaguar registered to one of them as a getaway car. All four admitted robbery and money laundering.
Jailing Lewis, of no fixed address, and Hazelden, of Gypsy Hill, for four years each, and Burrell, of Kennington, and Walker, of Thornton Heath, for three-and-a-half years, judge Philip Katz QC said they had caused “considerable fright” to their victims.