London - From the outside, it hardly looked like a criminal’s lair filled with ill-gotten gains.
But despite his best efforts, a drug-dealer who used green cladding to disguise his mansion as a cowshed has had the property seized.
Alan Yeomans, 63, concealed the grandeur of six-bedroom Shedley Manor – which included a disco room, gym and library – so it could not be seen from the road. The subterfuge also meant it avoided planning restrictions.
When Yeomans declared himself bankrupt, he told officials he was living in a shed in his mother’s garden and had just £300 worth of furniture and a £30 watch to his name – but officers soon realised there was much to the property than meets the eye. Inside the home they discovered an Aladdin’s cave of luxuries, including antiques and oil paintings worth around £83 250.
The property and its contents will now be forfeited under a £750 000 confiscation order granted last week – or Yeomans will face a further five-and-a-half years in jail. He is already serving a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence imposed in 2016.
Glen Wicks, of the Insolvency Service’s criminal investigations team, said: ‘What surprised me when I went into Shedley Manor was that someone built a six-bedroom manor house in the Peak District and filled it with fine art and antiques and the authorities didn’t know anything about it.’
Police found cannabis plants stashed in a secret room at the manor behind an oil painting of Elizabethan statesman Robert Cecil. An outbuilding at the property in Yeaveley, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, was also used to produce the Class B drug.
Sergeant Jon Lowes, of Derbyshire Police, said: ‘When we raided the property, we were amazed.’
Yeomans, who used three front companies to launder £2.2million from his cannabis empire, even illegally abstracted electricity to power the cultivation.
He was jailed in 2016 after admitting a string of charges – failing to disclose property when bankrupt, three counts of unlawfully taking part in or being concerned in the formation or management of a company, money laundering, possessing a CS gas canister, producing cannabis, and illegally abstracting electricity.
Sentencing at Derby Crown Court, Judge Nirmal Shant said Yeomans was ‘a liar, a money- launderer and someone involved in the production of drugs’.