A man found guilty of laundering the proceeds of a £5.3million alcohol smuggling plot has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Piotr Terpilowski laundered cash from the scam through his drinks import business but was traced by HM Revenue and Customs investigators who spotted large amounts of money being transported to Poland.

When Terpilowski was arrested in August 2011 on suspicion of money laundering offences, officers seized a rucksack he was carrying containing £20,000 in cash outside his home in Farrant Avenue, Wood Green.

Officers also found £100,000 cash in his car and £266,025 hidden in his house under his bed and on top of his laundry basket. 

Terpilowski’s partner Iwona Roman acted as company secretary of Drinks Import Ltd, London, even though they reported the business had stopped trading in October 2010.

But investigators found around £800,000 in cash had been deposited into a bank account of Drinks Import Ltd and transferred to Poland in 2011.

Roman was arrested in March 2012 at the couple’s new home address in Wood Green.

Paperwork seized during a search showed she had a bank balance of £63,000.

The money had been received through bank transfers and large cash payments, which were also transferred to Poland - £10,000 a day for a week, even after the initial cash seizures.

Terpilowski was jailed at City of London Magistrate’s Court on Friday and the cash was reclaimed by HMRC.

Roman was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 180 hours' community service.

John Pointing, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC said: “Piotr Terpilowski and his partner, Iwona Roman, received substantial amounts of cash which they knew were the profits from crime.

“They laundered some of the money to buy a BMW X6 and transferred large amounts to bank accounts in Poland.

“The couple seemed to believe they were invincible, even continuing the fraud after their arrest. They were wrong and are now living with the consequences of their crime.”