Developer cleared of drugs charge has to sell home

Gary Yorke has placed his six-bedroom villa near Dalkeith up for sale for �795,000. Picture: Andrew Stuart

Gary Yorke has placed his six-bedroom villa near Dalkeith up for sale for �795,000. Picture: Andrew Stuart

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A PROPERTY developer who was cleared of being part of a £1 million cocaine dealing gang is selling his mansion after failing to pay mortgage arrears.

Gary Yorke put the six-bedroom villa in the village of Cousland, near Dalkeith, on the market for a cut-price £795,000.

Lawyers for the Bank of Scotland postponed legal efforts to recover his growing debt after the 47-year-old agreed to sell up.

The house – which Manchester United footballer Darren Fletcher had previously considered buying – was once believed to be worth around £1.1m.

Yorke faced a 20-day trial in 2011 after Operation Tine police targeted a drug gang using undercover surveillance.

The businessman walked free from court after being acquitted, but was later pursued under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

A hearing into Yorke’s mortgage arrears was held at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday. Lawyers acting for the Bank of Scotland asked for the case to be continued for eight weeks to wait for the property to be sold and the debt paid off.

Yorke did not attend the hearing.

The house has a detached triple garage and is situated at the end of a gated driveway.

The ground floor boasts a reception hall, drawing room, dining room, sitting room, family room, kitchen, study, shower room and utility room.

The first floor has a master bedroom with ensuite dressing room and bathroom, four other double bedrooms, a family bathroom and large balcony.

The second floor has a home cinema, open-plan sitting room/kitchen/dining room, double bedroom and a bathroom.

The home was viewed by Scotland midfielder Fletcher in 2011 but he decided against buying it.

Under Operation Tine, more than 100 officers were deployed on a string of raids across Edinburgh, Mid, East and West Lothian, and Lanarkshire, with 11.7kg of cocaine recovered.

In December 2011, Kenneth Glen, who worked as the assistant professional at the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club in Prestonpans, became the 11th member of the gang to be convicted after he pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine.

Co-accused Andrew Baillie was also convicted but Yorke, John Russell, Darren Macholecki and Lee Calder were acquitted of cocaine dealing due to a lack of evidence.

Police recovered nearly £1m of cocaine while £2m of cash and property was identified for potential seizure under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Detectives believed up to 20 people were part of the gang’s supply network, and several “couriers” were jailed after being caught with drugs.

In 2012, Yorke tried unsuccessfully to recover £1545 seized from him during the investigation at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Yorke, who represented himself, said the money was intended to be paid out in wages, and was found in envelopes awaiting delivery.

Mr Yorke could not be reached for comment.