13th February 1984

Women are jailed for smuggling gold in their knickers

“Four wives who swapped their humdrum home life for gold smuggling were gaoled at the Old Bailey yesterday,” reported The Guardian. The women had been convicted of secreting Krugerrands, bought tax-free in Jersey, in their knickers and corsets, and flying back to Gatwick with them. Once through customs, they were reported to have handed over the coins to be sold in London. It was reckoned that £5m worth of coins were dealt over six months, resulting in £750,000 of lost VAT receipts.

Sent to prison

The women were jailed for between 12 and 18 months, with part of each sentence suspended, and fined between £300 and £1200. They had apparently been paid £500 each per trip. The Times quoted Judge Sutcliffe summing up, “Some people find this kind of crime exciting, a day out from home from the humdrum of a housewife… it is quite obvious the more pleasure one finds in this crime, the more obvious it is that a lesson must be taught. You were in it for easy money.”

The hearing concerned just part of what appeared to be a much larger operation that involved specially set-up companies and separate trials in Chichester. There, the fines and compensation imposed reached £60,000, and the defendants received longer prison sentences. However, who had established the scheme and seeded the opening investment that funded the purchase of the first few Krugerrands remained unknown.


FREE Jersey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.



Other events that occured in February