A crooked courier who brought more than £776,000 in dirty cash through Stansted Airport has been jailed for two years.

Gabriel Verdes, from Moldova, was caught was a stash of used notes hidden in his hotel room by officers from HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC) eight days after flying in to the Essex airport.

At Cambridge Crown Court on Friday, November 16, he was found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to two years in prison.

Paul Maybury, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service, said: "Verdes was caught red handed with bags full of cash. The money found in his room is the equivalent to the salaries of 33 new NHS nurses for an entire year.

“I urge anybody who knows of anyone handling large quantities of unexplained cash, or committing any type of tax fraud, to report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

On July 29, Verdes was spotted leaving his hotel room before returning with carrier bags full of cash.

Officers then searched Verdes' room and found £774,045 stuffed in bags and tucked away in a suitcase.

After his arrest, a further £2,695 was also found in Verdes' rucksack.

During questioning, he refused to comment or explain where any of the money had come from.

On Thursday, the money was forfeited to the Crown following a hearing at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court.

Braintree and Witham Times:

A photograph of one of the bags of cash in the hotel room

Report online at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.