CUMBRIA Constabulary has been given permission to continue holding more than £71,000 in cash which was found 'hidden' in a car on the M6.

A lawyer for the force told magistrates sitting at Carlisle’s Rickergate court that the money – predominantly Scottish bank notes – was found in a car and seized by police under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

The driver involved, Birmingham man Najeeb Hussain, was stopped near to the Motorway’s Junction 40.

The total amount involved was £71,715.

Police had hoped to secure a court order approving the permanent forfeiture of the money but a lawyer said to be linked to him had lodged an objection, which means there must now be a hearing to determine what happens next.

Gail Heard, for Cumbria Police, told magistrates: “This relates to sums in excess of £71,000, seized from the motorway. It was predominantly in Scottish notes and was hidden within the car.

“The money was initially disclaimed by the occupant of the car, who denied any knowledge of the money.

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Following an investigation by a financial investigator an application for administrative forfeiture was made  because there was nothing in the way of inquiries to give any hint of legitimacy to this money.”

Thirty days after police applied to have the money declared forfeit, Cumbria Police received a message which 'purportedly' came from a lawyer representing the person involved to say they objected to the police seizing the cash.

“We were not sure whether this application would be contested or not because we then had no indication from the person or his solicitor,” said Miss Heard.

But it was now confirmed that the person involved had contacted the court to request a video link so that the police application could be opposed.

Nobody was immediately available to conduct the case for Mr Hussain but the proper course of action, said Miss Heard, was to set the case down for a formal contested hearing.

Magistrates agreed and adjourned the case until July 6. Such money can be seized if a court believes that it is the proceeds of, or linked to, crime.

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