Kent

Mother and son jailed for trying to smuggle £40k out of Dover

Suzanna Sokolli and Xhino Mata Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Suzanna Sokolli and Xhino Mata were jailed at Canterbury Crown Court

A woman who hid thousands of pounds in a pair of tights wrapped around her body has been jailed with her son for trying to smuggle money out of the UK.

More than £40,000 was seized by police when Suzanna Sokolli, 57, and her son Xhino Mata, 24, were stopped in a car at the Port of Dover on 5 April.

The pair, from Albania, claimed the cash was Sokolli's life savings.

Sokolli was jailed for three years and Mata for three-and-a-half years at Canterbury Crown Court.

They were found guilty of attempting to conceal a large sum of money and leave the country.

Kent Police said the cash was ill-gotten and the proceeds of crime.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption The cash was hidden in a pair of beige tights wrapped around Sokolli's waist

When stopped at the port, Mata told officers he was travelling to France and Milan, and showed them £7,000 in bank notes in a bag.

Several more bundles of cash were found hidden in the lining of a handbag in the car.

Officers then searched Sokolli and found more cash concealed in a pair of beige tights wrapped around her waist.

She claimed she was hoping to use it to start a business, and that she had brought the money with her as she had previously been robbed and felt it was safer to have it with her.

A quarter of the cash was in Scottish pound notes with the remainder of the money in sterling.

Det Ch Insp Lee Morton said: "Neither Mata nor Sokolli could come up with a plausible reason as to why they were carrying so much cash.

"We believe it was ill-gotten and the proceeds of criminality."

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