A SCHOOL governor and her husband – described as pillars of the community – have been ordered to hand over almost £139,000 after being convicted of laundering thousands of pounds of drugs cash.
Confiscation orders were made against Linda Wisdom, 52, and her husband Anthony, 55, from South Shore, after they were found guilty of laundering £162,000 for a relative who police believe was running a large-scale drugs operation.
Mrs Wisdom had held the position of chair of governors at St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School in Blackpool and took part in church events.
But police raided the couple’s home on Dunelt Road in May 2009 and discovered money stuffed into carrier bags and stashed under the bed, in a wardrobe and lying on the ﬂoor. Detectives said the couple were not directly involved in the drug supply chain but were storing cash for Mr Wisdom’s step brother Paul Turai.
Mr Turai was arrested the following month and died two days after a violent struggle with police. He had swallowed packets of heroin and one of them burst in his stomach.
The couple were jailed for a year last month after a two-week trial.
During a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearing in Burnley Crown Court, the couple were ordered to pay £69,742 each or face a further 18 months in prison for defaulting the payment.
Alan Todd, a financial investigator for Lancashire Police, said: “In order for drug dealers to benefit from their illegal trade they usually need someone to launder their money for them. The Wisdoms were helping another criminal to profit from the misery which was being heaped on the local community through the sale of drugs.”
During their trial, the couple were described as people of good character who had worked tirelessly for the local community.
Mr Wisdom ran a reputable carpet cleaning business and Mrs Wisdom has been a school governor for around 12 years and went on charity trips to Lourdes.
During the trial the couple’s daughter, Nikki Wisdom, described them as “wonderful and loving parents”.
She said: “They are so much into helping other people.
“Part of that was their attempted rehabilitation of Paul (Turai) and the misplaced trust they put in him.”