Prison for 'lavish lifestyle' drug dealer who hid £18k cash in sock drawer

Police found £18,500 in Cambridgeshire drug dealer James Wilks' sock drawer.

Police found £18,500 in Cambridgeshire drug dealer James Wilks' sock drawer. - Credit: CAMBS POLICE

A drug dealer who splashed tens of thousands of pounds of his ill-gotten gains on designer clothes, flash cars, luxury dog kennels and holidays has been jailed for eight years.

Following an extensive investigation, detectives from Cambridgeshire Police were able to prove James Wilks - formerly of Cherry Hinton - was using the cash he earned from selling cocaine and cannabis to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Wilks first came to officer’s attention in January 2018 when they carried out a warrant at his home in Whittington Road, Cambridge and found £18,500 in cash stashed in his sock drawer.

Drug dealer James Wilks, formerly of Cherry Hinton, behind bars.

Drug dealer James Wilks, formerly of Cherry Hinton, behind bars. - Credit: CAMBS POLICE

They also found Rolex watches, jewellery and designer clothes.

With a job as a roofer earning £180 a week, officers began to question where all the money had come from.

Further warrants were carried out at properties in High Street, Cherry Hinton and Barker Driver, Camden, in London, and Whittington Road, where a further £5,700 was seized.

Officers also seized more than £50,000 of designer clothes and jewellery and a Mercedes GL63. They also seized cannabis and cocaine.

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Then, on January 24 2021, Wilks was the passenger in a vehicle in Swinton Street, London when it was stopped and searched by officers from the Metropolitan Police during the national lockdown.

He was found with a further £23,015 in cash.

Cambridgeshire drug dealer James Wilks behind bars: police found £18,500 in his sock drawer.

Jail for Cambridgeshire drug dealer James Wilks who splashed tens of thousands of pounds on designer clothes, flash cars, luxury dog kennels and holidays. Police found £18,500 in his sock drawer. - Credit: POLICE

Officers arrested him again on July 1 2021 in connection with drug trafficking between April and June 2020 in which he was involved in the trading of up to five kilos of cocaine and up to a kilo of cannabis.

Wilks was using the Encrochat platform to communicate with other criminals to organise the supply of controlled drugs.

The platform was disrupted and taken down by international law enforcement in June last year (2020).

Following an investigation into his bank transactions and lifestyle, officers discovered that, since 2013, Wilks had spent an average of just £12.20 a week on food including supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants.

They also discovered he had spent an average of just £7.20 a month on fuel and in 2017 he didn’t spend anything, despite leasing three Mercedes cars.

Detectives then discovered he had made numerous cash payments including £69 a month on a gym membership, £341 on luxury kennels, £5,745 at Harrods, £1,391 on hair and beauty treatments as well as thousands of pounds on renting his London home and a storage unit.

He had also been on multiple holidays abroad including Italy, Spain, Dubai and America.

Between January 2013 and 24 January 2021 Wilks also deposited £28,267.89 into his bank and wasn’t able to account for where it had come from.

At Cambridge Crown Court on November 25, Wilks, 39 and formerly of High Street, Cherry Hinton, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The sentence came after he previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (cocaine), offering to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and being concerned in the supply of class B drugs (cannabis).

He also pleaded guilty to four counts of converting criminal property, two counts of possessing criminal property and possession of a class A (cocaine) and class B (cannabis) drug.

Detective Sergeant Neil Hewson said: “Wilks was heavily involved in the Cambridgeshire drugs supply network which facilitated his lavish lifestyle.

"Such activity will not be tolerated in our county and the sentence reflects the seriousness of the offending.

“We’re committed to pursuing those who are involved in organised drug trafficking.”

If you know someone who is dealing drugs, report it here: