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Registered: 07/26/04
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Treasure map leads to drugs in socks and pickle barrels
    #4160442 - 05/11/05 03:17 AM (12 years, 15 days ago)

Treasure map leads to drugs in socks and pickle barrels
May 11, 2005 - timesonline.co.uk

ON FENLAND maps, Crooked Bank is marked as an innocent public footpath. But the sketch found by police in Barry and Mavis Warden's home gave it a different, and far more sinister role.

The "treasure map" drawn on the back of a shopping receipt details dozens of hiding places for drugs and cash stashed in the beauty spot near Wisbech by an extraordinary drugs cartel run by the Warden family and their friends.

During a 12-day search of the footpath behind the Wardens' home, police recovered a kilo of cocaine worth ?62,000 and 52 kilos of cannabis worth another ?200,000. The searchers also discovered ?63,000 in cash buried in four different spots along Crooked Bank.

Police said drugs were buried by the gang as if they "were planting potatoes" and the Wardens dealt in so many drugs that detectives believe they lost track of where they had stored some of them. Cocaine worth thousands of pounds would be stuffed into socks and hung up in trees. Cannabis bars were stored in giant pickle barrels in holes in the ground.

Cannabis was stored in hedgerows and tens of thousands of pounds cash was buried in jars.

The Warden family and friends dealt in such a large volume of drugs that they most likely could not remember where they had stored it.

Details of the gang and their ten-year operation supplying drugs across East Anglia were revealed yesterday at Cambridge Crown Court after the Wardens' daughter Betty, 33, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and possessing cocaine and amphetamine.

Barry Warden, 60, his wife, 54, their sons Richard, 28, and Barry jr, 25, and another seven defendents have already admitted drugs offences. All 12 will be sentenced later.

Operating with seeming impunity, the gang borrowed the techniques more usually found among Cold War spies to pass on information with a system of "dead-letter drops" and secret hides.

They set out markers to pinpoint burial sites and exchange drugs for cash. Rubber gloves were left with one finger blown up to show the direction of a drugs stash.

The family used quad bikes and trials bikes to ride down the path and collect drugs when someone was ready to buy them. Dog walkers were so intimidated they avoided the path which the Wardens regarded as their private property. After digging up the drugs, they would place them in a sock or a Tesco carrier bag and hang them from a bush for dealers to collect. Cash for the drugs would in turn be left in the bags for the family members to pick up later.

Detective Chief Inspector George Collings, who led an 11-month investigation, said that the family was guilty of drug dealing on "a massive scale". He said: "It was a bizarre case and unique in my experience. The Warden family presented an image to the outside world of a family who lived by fairly modest means."

To all intents and purposes everyone except Richard Warden was unemployed but they were running a "factory-style operation" and enjoying the profits. Family members spent more than ?100,000 on holidays to the Caribbean and the Canary Islands. They bought expensive jewellery, two boats, two Range Rovers, two BMW M3 saloons worth ?45,000 each and a ?30,000 Audi TT.

The Wardens added a 20ft conservatory to their former council house, which also included a billiard room and giant TV that took six people to carry. Mrs Warden had just ordered a new ?36,000 kitchen when she was arrested and her husband and Betty kept 30 greyhounds.

Inside the house police found a safe with ?15,000 in cash, part of a haul that had financed cars worth a total of ?240,000 and the greyhounds, which included dogs worth ?10,000.

Mr Collings said police had to jam spikes into the ground every six inches along the track during their search to make sure no more drugs were hidden there, but he said: "We can't be sure we found everything and it is quite possible that other drugs could have been buried and are still in the ground waiting to be discovered."

The gang was smashed after police were tipped off about their operations and they started an undercover operation. Surveillance teams spotted family members riding up and down the Crooked Bank path and reaching into hedgerows to recover drugs.

Undercover officers also gathered evidence by buying large quantities of cocaine and cannabis from family members on 13 separate occasions. Mavis Warden told one officer that she "had never run dry of cocaine" in ten years of supplying the drug.

In April last year 300 police, including a firearms team and dog units, raided Crooked Bank and the Wardens' home. Mrs Warden, whose outward appearance of a homely granny figure hid a shrewd businesswoman, sauntered out believing the gang's precautions would defy a conviction.

But Mr Collings said: "I think she thought she was safe because she knew nothing of our operation at that point." As police began searching she discovered how wrong she was. They uncovered not only the "treasure map" but details of IOUs for thousand of pounds from the Wardens' customers.

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Re: Treasure map leads to drugs in socks and pickle barrels [Re: veggie]
    #4162089 - 05/11/05 04:00 PM (12 years, 14 days ago)


veggie said:
"We can't be sure we found everything and it is quite possible that other drugs could have been buried and are still in the ground waiting to be discovered."

Easter egg hunt!! :grin:

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Hunter S. Thompson

It's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.

Don't be a fool, this is a war on drugs. Act like. The government sure does!

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Re: Treasure map leads to drugs in socks and pickle barrels [Re: veggie]
    #4294651 - 06/14/05 12:07 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Jail for Drug Cartel Family
June 14, 2005 - scotsman.com

Eight members of a family-run drugs cartel were jailed today.

The cartel - run by Barry Warden, 60, and his wife Mavis 54 from their former council house in Belt Drove, near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire - generated hundreds of thousands of pounds over a decade, detectives said.

The Wardens maintained a carefully nurtured image of being poor and unemployed while operating a "supermarket style" business which supplied cocaine and cannabis throughout Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, according to police.

Twelve members of the cartel were today sentenced by Judge Jonathan Haworth after admitting various drugs offences during the hearing at Cambridge Crown Court.

Barry and Mavis Warden and their son Richard, 28, who the judge said were the "directors and organisers" of the operation were each given 10-year jail terms.

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Re: Treasure map leads to drugs in socks and pickle barrels [Re: veggie]
    #4294671 - 06/14/05 12:23 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

In the USA they would have gotten life...

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Re: Treasure map leads to drugs in socks and pickle barrels [Re: Anno]
    #4297229 - 06/15/05 12:34 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

yeah, they're pretty lucky to only get 10 years. Do they have things like early parole or "good behavior" there? In the US if you get a 10 year sentance, that usuallu means you'll be out in seven or less.


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