Suffolk/Norfolk: Police plunder nearly £16million of criminals’ assets
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SUFFOLK and Norfolk police forces have plundered assets worth nearly £16million from criminals over the past 10 years.
Since 2003 crooks have had to hand over boats, cash, property, jewellery, horses and even greyhounds.
Financial investigators have also seized vehicles and electrical goods in a bid to ensure crime does not pay.
Police have released the £16m figure to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
In that time financial investigators have used their powers to seize and confiscate assets gained through a broad spectrum of criminal activity.
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This ranges from drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting, sexual exploitation and people trafficking, to offences such theft, burglary and robbery.
Detective Inspector Sean Coyne of the joint Financial Investigation Unit, said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act is a very powerful tool which gives us the opportunity to target and tackle criminals, and make them pay for their crimes.
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“Over the last ten years Norfolk and Suffolk Police have used POCA to great effect and we want to highlight the work that is being done in both counties.
“As we move forward we will continue to target those individuals who cause the most harm in our communities, by stripping them of the profit they have made from their involvement in crime and reinforcing the message that crime does not pay.”
The POCA legislation was enacted in Parliament in 2002 but not implemented in its entirety until April 1, 2003.
Norfolk and Suffolk began collaborating after forming a Joint Economic Crime Unit, operating across both counties in an effort to tackle those people who profit from crime.
Convicted criminals are forced to pay back a proportion of their gains through the assets they own.
If they are unable to repay what they owe, the confiscation orders made against them can be revisited by investigators at a later date.
If they find the criminal has subsequently come into money or assets, the offender can be taken back to court and ordered to pay up.