A woman who tried to smuggle money off the island in a pram has been given a suspended sentence.
Georgina Jane Anita Powell was arrested on July 3 at the Sea Terminal when police found the hidden £9,940 after a sniffer dog raised suspicion.
After pleading guilty to attempting to remove criminal property from the island, Deemster Graeme Cook sentenced her to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
She was also given a 12-month conditional supervision order.
Prosecuting attorney Hazel Carroon told the court officers were at the marine terminal as part of ‘Operation Strongbox’.
Powell, who is 27 and lives at Mayfield Gardens in Neston, Wirral, was checking in to board the 3pm ferry to Liverpool with another woman.
A sniffer dog indicated there was something hidden in a pram and the two women were arrested for a search.
There were two pushchairs and one held £9,940 while the other held £2,000.
When asked, Powell said she planned to visit the island on June 26 in order to purchase a seven-seater vehicle.
On June 29, she posted on Snapchat that she was coming to the island.
She said she was then contacted by someone called ‘Jay’ asking for her phone number.
‘Jay’ then called her and asked if she could bring some money back from the island, which he claimed was owed to her.
He told her it was about rent owed by an ex-spouse and a car sale.
Powell said she asked the other woman to come with her but did not tell her about the money to bring.
She said the £2,000 was hers, with which she intended to buy a car.
When they arrive on the island on July 1, they stay in a hotel in Douglas.
Powell said she was then called again by “Jay,” saying a man would meet her with the money.
She met the man who gave her a bundle of money, which she put in one of the prams.
Powell said she then put her own £2,000 in her friend’s pram without her knowledge, to “keep it separate”.
She said she invited the woman to come with her as she wanted her to take care of her child if anything went wrong.
A probation report said Powell was a mother of four, who was currently pregnant and had previously been in an abusive relationship, which caused her mental health issues.
The report says Isle of Man Probation Services were in liaison with Cheshire Probation Services over Powell’s monitoring in the UK.
Powell told probation she was in serious debt and was offered £200 to come to the island, as well as £500 for accommodation.
She said she thought it would be “easy money.”
Defense barrister Peter Taylor said his client had spent five days in police custody and was vulnerable to exploitation, from which she needed help to walk away.
Deemster Cook told Powell: ‘You have come to the island for the purpose of removing criminal property. It’s only because of your children that I’m not imposing immediate custody.
“However, I don’t want the public to think that if they are pregnant or have children, they can come here and end up with a suspended sentence.”
The deemster said he was “very lenient” and that such cases would be considered on a case-by-case basis.