Luck runs out for drug dealer

CONVICTED drug smuggler Edwin Almond wanted to create a life in the country for his wife and children – but ran out of money and was tempted back into crime.

CONVICTED drug smuggler Edwin Almond wanted to create a life in the country for his wife and children – but ran out of money and was tempted back into crime.

He had big plans for the renovation of the rundown Great Street Farmhouse in High Road, Trimley St Mary, but ended up starting jobs he could never finish.

Rooms were gutted, hedges ripped out, doorway lintels pulled down, trenches dug, original fireplaces and floorboards removed, but the repairs and refurbishment just didn't get going.

The family lived in squalor with their home a building site.

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Today the abandoned £250,000 listed property – which after his arrest the family fled and left unlocked – stands boarded up to keep out the vandals who stoned its windows thieves who stole its Victorian pantiles, waiting for new owners to give it love turn it into a dream family home.

Almond bought the house soon after he was released from a five-year prison sentence for drug smuggling.

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He spotted it while surfing on the internet and bought it from landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, negotiating for a year before moving in last spring.

Villagers were delighted. At long last the old farm – a listed building and one of the biggest properties in the village – was set for a new lease of life.

Almond said he had made his money through his business success in London. He claimed to have run a highly-successful car wash and valeting company, and his home in Trimley would allow him to commute to keep an eye on the firm.

He certainly appeared the prosperous young businessman, with his wife Fiona and two children – one of 18 months and a baby of just a few weeks.

The family kept chickens and a boisterous dog, offered their neighbours eggs from their surplus, and were happy to be seen getting used to village life.

At the house, work was starting. People walking past could see rooms being stripped, old wood and other materials coming out of windows, refurbishment was obviously under way to make this into a luxury family home.

So much work was taking place that the young family were living constantly amid dust and rubble, moving from room to room as work was taking place with no one room apparently completely habitable. Many admired his young wife for coping with a toddler and a new-born baby in such chaos.

Almond, 32, is currently serving five years in jail after being found guilty of possessing drugs, 2,589 ecstasy tablets worth £19,400, with intent to supply and receiving stolen vehicles.

Shortly after leaving jail the last time, £260,000 was mysteriously paid into his bank account. Despite this, when he was jailed last December, he had debts of £318,000 and the court was told had given way to "a weakness for nice things".

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