Criminal’s Hollywood memorabilia collection auctioned
International buyers fly in to bid on a trove that includes a car from ‘Back to the Future’
Reece Morrison of Wilsons Auctions helps display hundreds of items of memorabilia which are to be auctioned at the firm’s showrooms in Mallusk, Co Antrim. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The auction of a huge collection of movie and TV memorabilia seized from a criminal who turned a nuclear bunker into a drugs factory has generated interest across the world.
Would-be buyers jetted into Northern Ireland from across Europe for the sale of Martin Fillery’s remarkable haul of rare collectables on Thursday, while other bidders from the US and further afield registered online.
The treasure trove of memorabilia was built up over two decades, costing Fillery in excess of an estimated £1 million (about €1.13 million).
There was a replica Batboat from the 1960s Batman TV show, and a more futuristic Batbike inspired by the modern-day Batman films.
A Starsky and Hutch-style red-and-white Ford Torino, an Only Fools and Horses three-wheeled van, Postman Pat’s van and even Roland Rat’s pink car were also on the bidding list.
The “Aladdin’s Cave” of nostalgia 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 ever found in the south of England.
The 46-year-old movie fan, from Pedwell Hill, 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 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 illgotten gains.
Aidan Larkin, asset recovery manager at Wilsons, said the sale had sparked the public imagination.
“The interest has been truly global,” he said.
“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.”