MAGISTRATES have approved forfeiture orders for more than £320,000 following two applications by Cumbria Police.

The money was seized from motorists who were stopped by police in two unconnected incidents on the M6 in Cumbria in recent months, the city’s Rickergate Magistrates' Court heard.

Financial investigators from Cumbria Constabulary's economic crime unit made both applications in one afternoon. The first involved a motorist from the Midlands.

The man, in his 30s, was driving south past Junction 42 of the motorway near Carlisle on Friday, November 10, when police stopped his VW Passat because it was speeding.

When he was questioned by the officers, he said he had stayed in Glasgow overnight. But when police searched the car they found just over £164,000 in cash in Scottish bank notes.

The man, who has disclaimed the money, admitted that he had been sent to collect it.

Magistrates approved an application from Cumbria Constabulary for the money to be forfeited.

The second cash seizure happened on Thursday, October 12 last year as another driver – again from the Midlands – was intercepted while driving southwards in a Volvo car.

Police stopped the car because the car was travelling at excessive speed.

When questioned, the driver told the officers that he too had been to Glasgow and that he had stayed overnight. The man admitted that he had acted as a courier to collect the money, which was seized under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

As in the first case, the driver said he wanted to make no claim over the money.

In such cases, the money seized is ploughed back into the fight against crime, with half going to the police force involved and the remainder going to the Home Office.

Cumbria has had conspicuous success with such cash seizures in recent years, with the most recent figures confirming that in the year to April 2023, Cumbria Police continued hitting criminals where it hurts – in their pockets.

Officers won approval for the forfeiture of more than £1.1m in cash which was taken from suspected offenders, in many cases as they drove along the M6.

Courts can generally sanction the detention or forfeiture of cash if they believe that is is the proceeds of criminal activity or may be intended for uses linked to crime.

Read more: 'Hitting criminals where it hurts' - Cumbria Police seize £1m plus