Screen memorabilia seized from drugs criminal sold at auction

A Gremlins movie replica puppet
A Gremlins movie replica puppet

A huge collection of film and TV memorabilia seized from a criminal who turned a nuclear bunker into a drugs factory has gone under the hammer.

Movie fans looking for a cut-price slice of nostalgia headed to Belfast from across Europe for the sale of Wiltshire man Martin Fillery's remarkable haul of rare collectables on Thursday night.

Reece Morrison of Wilsons Auctions helps display hundreds of items of movie memorabilia

Reece Morrison of Wilsons Auctions helps display hundreds of items of movie memorabilia

Other enthusiasts from the US and further afield made online bids during the asset recovery auction, where none of the lots had a reserve price.

The treasure trove of memorabilia was built up over two decades, costing Fillery in excess of an estimated £1 million.

One of the items that generated most interest at Wilsons Auctions in Mallusk was a car actually used in Back To The Future II.

The futuristic BMW sold for £20,000.

A replica Batboat from the 1960s incarnation of the Batman TV show sold for £15,000 while a Batbike of the type depicted in the modern day films went for £13,000.

A Starsky And Hutch-style red and white Ford Torino was snapped up at £7,500, an Only Fools And Horses replica three-wheeled van went for £6,000 while Postman Pat's van sold for £3,500.

A life size Iron Man statue sold for £3,100 and a Star Wars Stormtrooper uniform attracted a top bid of £2,450.

Other lots included a life-size Terminator, an Ewok, a Doctor Who Cyberman, ET, a Gremlin and a waxwork of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.

Even Roland Rat's pink car was available to the highest bidder.,

The "Aladdin's cave" of collectable also included numerous 1980s pinball and arcade machines.

Fillery was one of three men jailed for turning an underground nuclear bunker designed for army VIPs into what was one of the largest cannabis factories found in the south of England.

The 46-year-old movie fan, from Pedwell Hill, Ashcott, Somerset, was jailed for eight years at Salisbury Crown Court in August for conspiracy to produce class B drugs, abstracting electricity and money laundering.

The court heard that the drug-growing operation at the disused RGHQ (Regional General Headquarters) Chilmark, Wiltshire, was capable of producing £2 million worth of cannabis each year.

Wilsons Auctions works with police forces across the UK in the disposal of ill-gotten gains.

Aidan Larkin, asset recovery manager at Wilsons, said the Wiltshire Police sale had sparked the public imagination.

"The interest has been truly global," he said.

Mr Larkin added: "We are regularly instructed to sell proceeds of crime assets.

"That's usually Rolexes, fast cars, houses in Spain but every now and again it's memorabilia. But this is certainly one we will remember for quite some time.

"We have an important job to do in that we have to realise as much as we can and get the money paid back over to the court.

"Everything we raise goes back into the public purse. So there's a bit of fun but there is also a serious job to be done."