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Criminals told to repay £2.5 million of ill-gotten gains after police pursue 'dirty money'

Convicted crooks were told to pay back more than £2.5 million last year after West Midlands Police pursued their 'dirty money'.

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Criminals involved in offences such as drug dealing and fraud can accrue significant sums of money from their illegal activities.

But financial investigators carried out extensive enquiries last year to ensure those sentenced for such crimes cannot benefit from ill-gotten gains in the future.

By pursuing it in court, West Midlands Police obtained 140 confiscation or forfeiture orders through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) in 2023.

It involved investigators showing how crooks had benefitted from their crimes, which can often be in terms of cash or investments such as property.

Criminals who do not pay receive extended prison sentences and officers have the opportunity to continue to pursue what is owed in the future.

Any cash which is clawed back can help compensate victims or be invested in community projects.

Detective Inspector Lauren Ades, from the economic crime unit at West Midlands Police, said: "Our department works tirelessly to ensure that offenders are not able to benefit financially from their criminal activity.

"We work alongside our colleagues dealing with the criminal prosecutions to secure as much evidence as possible to recover as much ‘dirty money’ as possible.

"The money recovered from these investigations is reinvested in government, CPS and the police to continue providing a service to the public and to invest in community projects."

Communities in the region are also helped under the police and crime commissioner's active citizen's fund.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said: “It is important that crime does not pay.

"That is why I welcome the work of the economic crime unit, who put that principle into practice.

“There is no better way to invest proceeds of crime, than back into the criminal justice system and the communities that have been victims of crime.

“In particular, my helping communities fund supports community projects that contribute to crime prevention and reduction and community safety across the West Midlands.”