Merseyside Police seize more than £3.5m since start of lockdown

Merseyside Police has seized more than £3.5m in suspected ill-gotten cash since the country went into lockdown last year.

Between 1 April 2020 to to date and by using a variety of methods including stop checks by officers, drug searches and warrants, there have been a total of 198 cash forfeiture orders totalling £2,234,501, 123 confiscation orders totalling £606,960 and 393 cash seizures with a total figure of £3,562,408.61 under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

It includes £500,000 (pictures attached) which was seized from a flat in Liverpool in June last year as part of the national Operation Venetic.

A POCA seizure is applied to cash believed to either been derived from criminal conduct or likely to be used as such. The suspected criminals will have to prove where the money came from.

The cases will end up before the courts and if appealed would end up in a trial, with the respondent having to provide evidence in order to reclaim the cash.

If the money is forfeited at court it would allow for 50% of the cash to be reinvested back into the force.

Previous seizures have included:

  • A male stopped who was smelling of cannabis stopped by officers in Kensington and found with £2,500 on his person which he couldn’t account for
  • As part of an ongoing drug supply investigation officers stopped and searched two cars. In the footwell of a car stopped in the Croxteth area they found £15,000 in a carrier bag. In the boot of a second car, also stopped in the Croxteth area, a further £30,000 was found
  • During the execution of a firearms warrant in Walton cash was found in a rucksack in a loft and from a bedside cabinet amounting to £10,000
  • A car that had been spotted speeding earlier that day was stopped in Huyton. The vehicle and occupants were searched and £13,000 found which couldn’t be accounted for
  • A male made off from officers on his pedal cycle in the Anfield area and was detained and searched. A search of his home address found cannabis and £1000 cash
  • A man was stopped in Liverpool city centre. He was spoken to by officers and searched and found to be in possession of a rucksack found to contain an estimated £100,000 which he couldn’t account for

In just one example of how the seized money is reinvested, residents in Speke had the final say in how £26,000 of money seized as part of POCA would be spent in their community.

The programme, locally named ‘Speke Up’, aimed to generate a sustainable environment for the local community by supporting local projects aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Detective Inspector Holly Chance, from Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime Team, said: “These seizures go to show that our work to stop them is ongoing and relentless and it pays dividends when the money can be reinvested back into the force to be distributed to worthy cause that benefit everyone.

“We know how frustrated law abiding members of the community feel when they believe that criminals are allowed to keep the ill-gotten gains.

“I want them to be reassured that when money is seized from someone suspected of being involved in criminal enterprise we will do everything we can to thoroughly investigate and where necessary ensure the cash is seized from them.”

If you suspect someone may be trying to scam you, report it to the police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency. Further fraud crime prevention advice can be found on the Merseyside Police website, or on the Action Fraud site at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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