Was Surrey gran involved in Mafia lover's drugs ring?

Sarah Coles
Sheryl Rogers
Sheryl Rogers

Sheryl Rogers, a 46-year-old grandmother originally from Box Hill in Surrey, has been accused of helping run a drugs ring for her former boyfriend - the head of one of Italy's most notorious families.

The Sunday Times reported that Giuseppe Felaco was a senior member of the Nuvoletta family. Rogers, the horse-loving grandmother-of-three, had moved to Tenerife in 1994, and became his mistress; she has a 16-year-old son with him.

It is alleged that she was helping him to launder hundreds of millions of pounds from his cannabis smuggling operation.

According to the Daily Mail, she denies any involvement, and says she thought Felaco was a legitimate businessman. She describes the charges as 'daft' and that police got 'everything completely wrong'. She pointed out that as a non-Italian woman there was no way she could ever have been part of the Mafia.

She added: "I was basically a housewife. I did not have anything to do with the business. I was put down in the books as if I worked in his business but that was because we weren't married and I had no social [security] and he wouldn't let me work."

Felaco has never stood trial, as he died from cancer shortly after his arrest in 2011. Rogers was arrested in Felaco's holiday home in Tenerife three years ago during a raid. She is one of a number of people accused of involvement in the drugs ring, and if found guilty, she could spend ten years in jail.

Grandmothers in the news
Headlines relating to this story have, unsurprisingly, focused on the fact that all this is happening to a grandmother - when in previous generations few would have expected much beyond a life of community service and knitting for a woman with grandchildren.

But she's not the first grandmother to have hit the headlines in an unexpected way recently. Here are three far more positive examples of pensioner power:

1. In April a 94-year-old woman from Devon sent a burglar packing after surprising him in the middle of the night. The man had broken in at 2am, assuming that the pensioner had gone to bed. He was ransacking the lounge when she woke from a snooze in her chair, she challenged him, and he fled empty-handed.

2. In March last year a grandmother from Stoke-on-Trent saw a man trying to steal bottles of spirits from her local supermarket. She swung her handbag at him, he tried to push past her, she fell to the floor, and he tripped over her. That's when he was stopped by store security. She told the press she has known she could do some damage with her handbag because it had all her pills in it.

3. Back in 2011, a gang of men on motorcycles used sledghammers to smash the windows of a jewellers in Northampton. A retired market trader in her 70s saw the fuss and thought someone was being attacked. She ran over to intervene, saw what was really going on, and decided to get stuck in anyway. She started hitting the gang over the head with her handbag, encouraging other passers-by to stop one of the gang members and pin him down until the police arrived.

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