A DRUG dealer’s wife came home from a week’s holiday in Devon to find that he had been having a secret affair with a woman who had walked off with his £212,000 hoard of cash.

Luci Loveridge received a panic call from her newlywed husband Christopher White when he found the cash was missing and rushed back to their home in Bristol.

When she checked their CCTV she saw a naked woman wandering in and out of the ‘mancave’ where he kept the cash. She also found an empty box of Viagra in the rubbish bin.

The police became suspicious after the couple tried to trace the woman through a private detective and they raided the house where they found five kilograms each of heroin and ketamine with a combined street value of just under £650,000.

The woman was traced to the Ibis Hotel in Sheffield, where she still had the £212,425 cash, a jury at Exeter Crown Court was told.

Loveridge, who carried on using her own name after marrying 41-year-old White in September 2021, was on trial for possessing criminal property after a financial investigation showed £62,575.95 unexplained credits in her bank account.

She said she was on holiday at Finlake Leisure Park at Chudleigh, when the money was taken and had no idea her husband was a large scale drug dealer.

She thought that any cash he gave her came from a business which he ran selling items including vapes on auction sites.

Bristol City Council social care worker Loveridge, aged 50, of Chelvey Gardens, Hartcliffe, Bristol, denied but was found guilty of possessing or converting criminal property and will be sentenced next month by Judge James Townsend.

White, of the same address, admitted possession of class A and B drugs with intent to supply and possession of criminal property and was jailed for 12 years at Bristol Crown Court in July 2022.

During the trial, Mr Christopher Smyth, prosecuting, said the scale of White’s dealing came to light as a result of a woman who visited his home when his wife was away taking £212,425 in cash.

Loveridge married White on September 16, 2021, but went on holiday for a week in October, returning on October 8.

Mr Smyth said: 'In the week that she was away a woman visited the address and there was CCTV at the property so when she returned Loveridge was able to see people coming and going.

'It seems that when the woman was at the address, she stumbled a large amount of cash in banknotes and left the address. White checked the CCTV, saw her leaving, and was concerned about the missing money.

'He set about trying to look for her but was unable to find her immediately and had people contact her family. Police located her in a hotel in Sheffield with the money.

'In the early hours of October 9, police arrived at Chelvey Gardens and conducted a search. There was a hired Mercedes in the driveway and in the boot there was five kilograms of heroin in multi-layered heat sealed packages.'

The ketamine was found in an Aldi bag in a large shed, sometimes called a man cave, which had a double bed, a hot tub and a well-stocked bar. Small amounts of cocaine and ecstasy were found at the house along with cash.

Loveridge had £225 under a pile of clothing in her bedroom and another £2,000 was recovered elsewhere. Police found paying in receipts from the local post office at Hartcliffe where CCTV showed Loveridge had deposited £999 cash three times in a single week and £20,3777 in total.

Mr Smyth said texts and messages showed she knew about her husband’s drug dealing because there were references to ‘counting’ and one in which White described himself as a ‘scumbag drug dealer’.

Another told her ‘loads of counting, fun, fun, fun, ha ha ha’. A message sent after the £212,425 went missing said he was ‘******** a brick’.

A financial investigation showed that the couple’s legitimate income for the 22 months before the arrest was only around £40,000.

Loveridge said she thought her husband was running an auction business and had no idea he was involved with drugs. She said she went ahead with the wedding despite them ceasing to have sex for several months and his behaviour becoming more erratic.

She said by the time she went on holiday to Devon he was effectively living apart in the shed and she suspected that other women were visiting him there.

She said the £62,575.95 paid into her account came from various other sources including selling a car, running her own jewellery business, selling items online, and using her credit card to buy things for friends and family, who then repaid her in cash.

She said: 'At no time did I believe he was a major drug dealer or even a small time drug dealer. When I got home and looked at the CCTV I saw a young lady coming into the house and looking around as if she had been there a few times before.

'She walked straight into my house and I thought maybe she was having an affair with him. I saw her following him to the shed and then coming out completely starkers, going to the house, then to the shed, where they were for ages.

'I confronted him about it and he tried to deny it and said she was just a friend. He said she was just a random woman. I looked in the bin bag and found an empty packet of Viagra. I thought ‘they ain’t for me’ as we had not been intimate for about a year.'