‘More must be done to get back crime cash’

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CRIMINALS are getting away without paying back ill-gotten gains despite court orders against them, MPs have said.

A Public Accounts Committee report says more should be done to deprive criminals of their cash won through crime.

It comes as members of a cocaine ring in Portsmouth ruled to be worth £720,000 had to pay back £53,727 between six of them.

The PAC committee said only £190m of £1.9bn ordered to be confiscated nationally can realistically be collected.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the PAC, said: ‘The number of orders imposed has fallen and, according to unaudited figures provided by the Home Office, only a tenth of the huge debt owed under such orders is realistically collectable.

‘This sends an appalling message to criminals who stand to benefit from crime – and, equally importantly, to their victims and taxpayers.’

Such orders set a benefit figure and total available.

If a criminal comes into more cash in the future police can ask judges to order more cash should be paid back up to the benefit figure.