Jailed Darren Bradley refused to give up on crimes

When Darren Bradley started an eight-year jail sentence after being unmasked as an armed cannabis dealer, police believed they had put an end to his criminal enterprise.

Tanning boss Darren Bradley with his wife Sharon
Tanning boss Darren Bradley with his wife Sharon

But the jailed tanning firm boss refused to let a spell behind bars mark the end of his criminal career.

While serving time, the 44-year-old struck a deal with a fellow prisoner and orchestrated a fake goods racket from within his cell.

He arranged for fake handbags and clothes from top designer brands to be sent to Elite Tanning and Beauty Ltd in High Street, Bilston, which is co-owned by his wife Sharon and includes a boutique.

More than 200 fake items from brands including Pandora, Vivienne Westwood, Tiffany, Chloe and GHD, were delivered to the shop without Mrs Bradley’s knowledge and were found in boxes inside the shop during a swoop by Trading Standards officers.

The raid followed a tip-off by the Brand Protection Service and 221 items, including clothes, handbags and watches, were seized – 216 later being found to be fake.

Many of the goods were found in cardboard boxes and bin bags and had not been unpacked or put on the shelves.

All charges against Mrs Bradley were dropped during a hearing at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court yesterday.

Boxes of Ugg boots stacked up
Boxes of Ugg boots stacked up

But Bradley, the brains behind the scheme, was given an extra 10 weeks on his five-year jail sentence after admitting fraud.

The former drugs boss, who is currently serving his sentence at Layhill Prison, in Gloucestershire, was produced at court to hear his sentence read out.

Bradley’s latest crimes came to light two years after he was jailed for his role as an armed dealer in a case that shocked the neighbourhood.

Caught with cannabis worth more than £38,000 and a handgun stashed in a first aid kit at his mother’s house he was brought to justice thanks to his own CCTV system.

Just hours before police swooped to make their arrests, he was filmed rummaging in a car boot at his home, amongst bin bags stuffed full of drugs, and it unravelled an investigation which started as a drugs probe and escalated to include alleged money laundering.

In the boot of his Vauxhall Vectra outside the couple’s £450,000 house on Penn Road, Gospel End, Sedgley, officers found 7.6kg of potent skunk cannabis. Flash Bradley, who had a £130,000 Bentley among his collection of cars, had originally denied any knowledge of the drugs and said he had never noticed a smell, but the CCTV footage proved differently.

The court case heard in September 2010 how the footage showed Bradley leaving his house and walking to his car at around 11pm the night before the raid, but despite saying other people had access to the car and he didn’t know it was there, his fate was sealed.

A set of straighteners found by officers
A set of straighteners found by officers

One hundred officers raided homes and businesses connected with Bradley, including four Elite Tanning Salons around Wolverhampton and Dudley, which he ran with his wife Sharon, in February 2010.

At Bradley’s mother’s home on Bilston’s Britannia Road, they found a 9mm Russian-made Baikal pistol and eight 9mm bullets. Despite him telling police in interviews they wouldn’t find his fingerprints or DNA on the weapon, they found some on the trigger and on the bag it was stored in.

Bradley was jailed for five years for possession of a firearm and three years to run consecutively for conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Det Sgt Mick Postin, whose team of officers had led the drugs probe, said he believed Bradley was two steps removed from being a street dealer.

“He would pass the drugs on to another person and then the cannabis would be divided up and passed down the chain until the drugs were sold on the street. The gun was really a tool of the trade. If you’re involved in this sort of business, involving large quantities of drugs, people feel they have a need for protection from other dealers who will often target them or rob them.

“The fact he kept the gun at his mother’s house was just a way he thought he could avoid detection.”

It is understood he is due to be released in September 2014. But he now has an extra 10 weeks on his sentence.

Wolverhampton Trading Standards manager Peter Calvert said: “It may be a relatively small number of items but they had a high value and amounted to thousands of pounds.

"We always enforce trademark legislation. If people insist on breaking the law, even from prison, we will pursue it.”