Play area couple cleared of drug dealing

The popular Rainforest play centre in Motherwell.
The popular Rainforest play centre in Motherwell.

A couple have been cleared of drug dealing and using dirty money to set up their successful children’s play complex in Motherwell.

Graham Clarke (36) and his wife, Lindsay (32), walked free from the High Court in Glasgow after a five-month trial.

They were cleared of involvement in a £7 million cocaine empire. A jury returned not proven verdicts on drug dealing and money laundering charges.

It had been alleged they used drugs money to set up Rainforest Adventure Limited and run a soft play centre in Windmillhill Street. It was claimed they overstated the income of the business by almost £400,000 in a bid to hide dirty cash.

The couple were said to have lived the high life, buying cars, boats and a property in Spain.

The prosecution relied on the evidence of a convicted drug dealer, David Hunter, who was caught when a cocaine factory in East Kilbride was raided in 2010. He got a reduced sentence in return for giving statements implicating the Clarkes.

The Clarkes branded Hunter a liar and denied being involved in the cocaine operation.

Graham Clarke, of Knowetop Farm, Larkhall, said all he’d done wrong was fail to make tax returns between 2006 and 2012. He revealed that he and his wife paid the tax man £931,000 recently.

Several other people were cleared of charges at various stages of the lengthy trial.

Lindsay Clarke was found guilty of a charge of mortgage fraud relating to a property in Chryston, Lanarkshire. She will be sentenced next month.