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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Milton Woolf, 55, of St John's Wood, and Jacqueline Swan, 47, of Barnet, offered anonymity to criminals, who opened boxes ranging from single drawers to walk-in storerooms

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Milton Woolf, 55, of St John's Wood, and Jacqueline Swan, 47, of Barnet, offered anonymity to criminals, who opened boxes ranging from single drawers to walk-in storerooms. Among more than £500 million of assets seized by police were gems, crack cocaine and heroin, elephant tusks, child abuse images and £56 million cash.

Five handguns were recovered in raids on the centres in Park Lane, Hampstead and Edgware, including Glock pistols owned by contract killers.

The three branches of Safe Deposit Centres Limited were stormed by 500 police in June 2008 after a two-year investigation into money laundering codenamed Operation Rize. Officers spent two weeks cutting open 6,717 safety deposit boxes, of which 3,500 were investigated. About 40 per cent were linked to criminality.

As a result of investigations into the contents of the boxes, 250 people have faced the courts. Thirty have been convicted of criminal offences and others have had criminal assets seized.

Paedophile Michael Geraghty, the director of a sex shop, stashed child porn in a box at the Park Lane branch and was jailed for 15 months. International jewel thief Yuri Harris, 49, of Hove, used the Hampstead branch to hide more than £100,000 in various currencies. He was jailed for seven years last March. In 1993 a drug dealer, who has not been named, opened a box using the pseudonym "Mr White".

He murdered a rival and was jailed in 1994, but it was only in 2008, when his box was opened that police found the gun he used. Woolf, who was born in South Africa, pleaded guilty to 14 offences including money laundering and possession of a firearm at Southwark crown court. Swan pleaded guilty to seven counts of failing to disclose money laundering. A third director, Leslie Sieff, 63, of Willesden, admitted possessing counterfeit US dollars and was fined £1,000.:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder

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