POLICE seized £3.3m in cash and assets from criminals over the past 12 months – almost twice the amount claimed back the previous year.
The massive amount marks Hampshire Constabulary’s most successful year since powers to seize cash and assets from criminals came into law in 2003.
Significant confiscations have been made across the county over the past 12 months.
In one operation, drugs warrants were executed at properties in Waterlooville, leading to the discovery of 2.5kg of amphetamine and 2.5kg of cannabis stashed in a wheelie bin.
A total of £318,000 of cash was found stashed in a suitcase inside a wardrobe at the home of the suspect’s mum.
The full amount of cash was seized and confiscated.
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) allows the police and Crown Prosecution Service to seize cash, confiscate assets, and conduct the civil recovery of assets accrued by criminals in the furtherance of their criminal businesses and activities.
Detective Sergeant Lee Macarthur, who leads the forces’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: ‘Using our POCA powers effectively is a vital part of taking away the attraction of a criminal lifestyle, and an important part of the government’s organised crime strategy.
‘By tackling crime locally, we are stemming the opportunities for crime to take root in our communities.
‘We are strengthening the law enforcement agencies’ ability to deal with offenders more robustly by stripping them of their lifestyle and cash and, as a result, making Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a hostile place for criminals.’
All funds forfeited from criminals are divided 50/50 between the Home Office and Hampshire Constabulary and ploughed back into frontline policing.
Any funds which police can demonstrate belong to a victim of crime are given back to the victim.
As well as the confiscation orders totalling £3.3m, a further £572,867 was claimed back through forfeiture orders against 37 people believed to have come via criminal activity.
Where the money came from
Drugs operation in Waterlooville - £318,000 cash confiscated from drug dealer.
Operation Extravagant – Imtiaz Ali, 46, serving eight years in jail for conspiracy to import 119kg of cannabis into the Alton area. Confiscation order for £2.3m in place.
Operation Carey – Miles Cracknell, 35, of Lightwater, Surrey, serving three years in prison for drug supply in Aldershot and Farnborough. Total of £60,000 in cash forfeited.
Ventnor, Isle of Wight: Ryan Vaughan, 37, of Downside Road, Ventnor, convicted for supply of cannabis. Holdall containing £38,000 was seized as well as £33,926 confiscated from his bank accounts.