Posted on 24th April 2014
More than £1million was stripped from criminals in Derbyshire during the last year under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The latest figures released by Derbyshire police show that between April 1, 2013 and the end of March 2014 almost £20,000 per week in cash and other assets were removed from offenders.
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) gives police and other investigating agencies the power to take criminals to court to recover the wealth people have made by committing crime such as drug dealing or selling stolen property.
The act allows police to confiscate money from people at the crown court if they have been convicted of a criminal offence. Cash suspected of coming from crime, or for use in crime, can also be forfeited during a civil hearing at a magistrates’ court.
The latest figures released by Derbyshire police show that between April 1, 2013 and the end of March 2014 assets totalling £870,027 were confiscated at crown court in 57 separate cases under the act.
During the same period, £131,223 was forfeited by magistrates in 44 separate hearings.
The biggest confiscation order over the last year involved a couple who ran cannabis farms in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands who were ordered to pay back more than £450,000.
A member of an Organised Crime Group in Chesterfield who was involved in stealing Harley Davidson motorcycles across the country was ordered to pay back £60,000 in December 2013.
Money confiscated by the crown court is shared between a central Home Office fund, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Court Services and the investigating agency, such as the police or Trading Standards. Cash forfeited by magistrates is split between the Government and the investigating agency.
Some of the initiatives the money has been put back into within Derbyshire include CCTV for the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, Bradwell Youth Group, a five-a-side football project in Chesterfield and High Peak Women’s Aid.
Money also went into extra training and equipment for officers investigating this type of crime.
Detective Inspector Rob King, from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit, said: “Every week tens of thousands of pounds are being removed from criminals.
“Some of this money comes back into Derbyshire and is used in the continued fight against crime and those profiting from criminal activity.
“Our message to offenders is clear – crime does not pay. We will pursue you through both the criminal courts and any assets you may have will be stripped from you.”
If you have information about someone who is enjoying the proceeds of crime, contact Derbyshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.