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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Criminals in Cumbria made to repay £13 million by courts

Criminals in Cumbria have been ordered to repay £13.5 million in illegally-made cash since the arrival of powers to seize their ill-gotten gains.

New figures show 500 county crooks have had their cases scrutinised under the Proceeds of Crime Act following its introduction nearly a decade ago.

Last year saw Cumbria’s police force seize almost £1m – while investigations are ongoing into a further £2m of suspect assets.

Police are able to confiscate money deemed by a court to have been made illegally by using the Proceeds of Crime Act.

It is intended to strike at the main motive for crime by deterring offenders and showing that crime does not pay. The money recovered and made through the sale of a criminal’s assets can be put back into community projects and help to fund further investigations.

Chief Inspector Terry Bathgate said: “Most criminals are driven to commit crime for money, under the illusion they will get away with it. They are wrong.

“Spending time behind bars doesn’t mark the end of punishment. We have specialist detectives who are trained to painstakingly investigate criminals’ finances to strip them of the assets they’ve gained through crime.”

Chief Insp Bathgate said convicted criminals are brought from prison and placed before a court “where another case will be brought against them under the Proceeds of Crime Act”.

“Here, detectives will prove how much money criminals have made from crime and they can lose their homes, businesses and lavish lifestyles very quickly,” he added.

“Financial investigation is a very important job but one that goes on behind the scenes that most people would know nothing about.”

In one of the most recent examples, a Proceeds of Crime hearing is set to be heard in the case of a woman who fraudulently obtained more than £80,000 from her two employers.

Vanessa Decastro, 42, made payments to herself using false supplier names while she worked as a personal assistant and finance manager at Reiver Lodges Limited in Carlisle.

Decastro, of Border Close, Garlands, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to 11 charges of fraud and false representation when she appeared at Carlisle Crown Court last month. She was jailed for two years and eight months.

A judge heard she stole from both Reiver Lodges Limited and the Story Painting Group, where she worked.

Police issued the figures as part of an ongoing campaign focussing on work behind the scenes to fight crime in Cumbria.

Have your say

crime doesnt pay, i see petty crime every day in my private lane,off Granville road,people hanging around, cars been driven up the lane,it says on my house deeds that the lanes private.yes there should be made to pay.

Posted by Roy on 28 July 2012 at 16:47

"made"...? at what rate and at what cost to administer??

Posted by Adam on 27 July 2012 at 11:56

View all 8 comments on this article

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