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Prison for drug dealer who led a lavish lifestyle

26 Nov 2021

A drug dealer who splashed his ill-gotten gains on designer clothes, flash cars, luxury dog kennels and holidays has been jailed for eight years.

Following an extensive investigation detectives from Cambridgeshire Police were able to prove James Wilks was using the cash he earned from selling cocaine and cannabis to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Wilks first came to officer’s attention in January 2018 when they carried out a warrant at his home in Whittington Road, Cambridge and found £18,500 in cash stashed in his sock drawer as well as Rolex watches, jewellery and designer clothes.

With a job as a roofer earning £180 a week, officers began to question where all the money had come from.

Further warrants were carried out at properties in High Street, Cherry Hinton and Barker Driver, Camden, in London, and indeed Whittington Road where a further £5,700 was seized along with more than £50,000 of designer clothes and jewellery and a Mercedes GL63. They also seized cannabis and cocaine.

Then on 24 January (2021) Wilks was the passenger in a vehicle in Swinton Street, London when it was stopped and searched by officers from the Metropolitan Police during the national lockdown. He was found with a further £23,015 in cash.

Officers arrested him again on 1 July (2021) in connection with drug trafficking between April and June 2020 in which he was involved in the trading of up to five kilos of cocaine and up to a kilo of cannabis.

Wilks was using the Encrochat platform to communicate with other criminals to organise the supply of controlled drugs. The platform was disrupted and taken down by international law enforcement in June last year (2020).

Following an investigation into his bank transactions and lifestyle, officers discovered that since 2013 Wilks had spent an average of just £12.20 a week on food including supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants. They also discovered he had spent an average of just £7.20 a month on fuel and in 2017 he didn’t spend anything, despite leasing three Mercedes cars.

Detectives then discovered he had made numerous cash payments including £69 a month on a gym membership, £341 on luxury kennels, £5,745 at Harrods, £1,391 on hair and beauty treatments as well as thousands of pounds on renting his London home and a storage unit. He had also been on multiple holidays abroad including Italy, Spain, Dubai and America.

Between January 2013 and 24 January 2021 Wilks also deposited £28,267.89 into his bank and wasn’t able to account for where it had come from.

At Cambridge Crown Court yesterday (25 November), Wilks, 39, formerly of High Street, Cherry Hinton, was sentenced to eight years in prison after previously pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (cocaine), offering to supply a class A drug (cocaine), being concerned in the supply of class B drugs (cannabis), four counts of converting criminal property, two counts of possessing criminal property and possession of a class A (cocaine) and class B (cannabis) drug.

Detective Sergeant Neil Hewson said: “Wilks was heavily involved in the Cambridgeshire drugs supply network which facilitated his lavish lifestyle. Such activity will not be tolerated in our county and the sentence reflects the seriousness of the offending.

“We’re committed to pursuing those who are involved in organised drug trafficking.”

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