Almost £2 million of ill-gotten gains has been recovered in less than a year as West Midlands Police proves that crime doesn’t pay!
The ‘dirty money’ has been paid back under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) which gives police forces the power to seize assets or cash from crooks that’s believed to have been accrued through criminality.
West Midlands Police and the Regional Organised Crime Unit ( ROCU ) have taken a tough stance to recoup cash - with those who don’t pay facing extended jail terms.
Between the start of April and December this year a total of £1,929,195 was handed back by 96 offenders after crime profits were pursued by West Midlands Police.
The money clawed back through confiscation or secured through agreeing its forfeiture is ploughed into the force’s Active Citizens Fund and crime and community projects.
One of those stripped of crime cash is Birmingham man Ashley Nathaniel Wilkin who officers initially stopped for a minor traffic offence - but who was later found to be running a drugs network.
He was stopped by police in Court Lane, Erdington, and a search of his Mercedes revealed a wrap of cocaine; further searches of his home in nearby Anstey Field uncovered £12,500 of cocaine. The 30-year-old was jailed for three-and-a-half years and a POCA investigation concluded in October this year when a judge ordered him to pay back £109,000.
Other examples have included a Vietnamese cannabis grower forced to hand back more than £18,000 and a man who stole money from gambling machines having to return £42,000.
DS Paddy Gillece, from Force CID economic crime unit, said: "Just because a criminal has been sentenced, it does not mean it’s the end of our investigation. We will always seek to prevent criminals benefitting from ill-gotten gains and look to claw back their ’dirty money’ through the courts.
"By taking away the profits we can break the cycle of criminal behaviour and those who don’t pay back the money can face extra time behind bars.
"The money we have recovered already should serve as a stark reminder that crime doesn’t pay."
West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: “There’s a real sense of justice with the Active Citizens Fund: it sees ill-gotten gains stripped from criminals and then used for good in our communities.
“The seizure of almost £2 million is an excellent result by West Midlands Police and that money will transform neighbourhoods. From after-school sports clubs to computer classes and more, this dirty money will be used to clean up communities."