Gravesend couple among many in Kent to have criminal assets seized by police

PUBLISHED: 08:51 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:51 08 May 2019

The Equality Trust charity said the figures paint a

The Equality Trust charity said the figures paint a "bleak picture of our society". Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

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A Gravesend couple are among suspects made by the court to give up cash believed to be tied to crime.

Kent Police said during 2018/19, they grabbed more than £2million worth of cash and assets from criminals and suspects.

That includes a Gravesend couple whose home was raided during a class-A drug supply investigation. They forfeited £90,600 cash.

They were never charged in relation to the case, but officers proved the money was connected to drug sales.

The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate use legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure drug dealers and others who earn a living through illegal trades are not allowed to continue to benefit following their release from prison.

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The total number of forfeiture orders granted between April 2018 and March 2019 was 69, with a total value of £837,049 forfeited.

Under similar confiscation orders in the past year, Kent Police seized £1.2 million. Cash totalling more than £2.8 million and 239,625 Euros was also seized.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Downing of Kent Police is the National Police Chiefs Council lead for Financial Investigation and Proceeds of Crime.

He said: "Many people who commit crime do so because they see it as an easy way to make money, whether it is by selling property they have stolen or being paid large sums of money for the supply of harmful drugs like crack cocaine and heroin.

"The Proceeds of Crime Act is a vital piece of legislation that enables us to prevent criminals from continuing to reap the benefits of their illegal activities even after they have been arrested, charged and sent to prison. It can also be used in cases where we have been unable to prove a person was responsible for a criminal act, but when the courts agree with us that the money or property was gained unlawfully.

"Our financial investigators play a vital role in bringing evidence of this nature to court and ensuring criminals are left under no illusion that crime ultimately does not pay."

Assets recovered are distributed to operational agencies including Kent Police under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme.

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