Criminals stripped of £1.6 million by courts

MORE than £1.6 million has been stripped from Derbyshire criminals in the last 12 months under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

The act allows police to confiscate money from people at the crown court if they have been convicted of a criminal offence.

Cash suspected of coming from crime, or for use in crime, can also be forfeited during a civil hearing at a magistrates’ court.

The latest figures released by Derbyshire police show that between April 1 2010 and the end of March 2011 assets totalling £1,273,076 were confiscated at crown court under the act. During the same period, £354,363 was forfeited at magistrates courts.

Between April 2009 and March 2010, £527,140 was confiscated from criminals and £206,656 was forfeited.

Decisions are still being made on where Derbyshire police will spend this years’ money.

Detective Superintendent Terry Branson, force lead on POCA, said: “Our message to offenders is clear – crime does not pay. We will pursue you through both the criminal and civil courts and any assets you may have will be stripped from you.

“We are working hard to make sure that anyone who profits through their offending will not only face conviction and possibly jail, but will also be prevented from enjoying the fruits of their ill-gotten gains.”