Birmingham & Black Country

Judge orders £1.3m 'haulage theft' cash seizure

The money seized
Image caption The money was found during a search after the robbery

A judge has ordered the seizure of £1.3m found in a bedroom by police investigating the death of a driver whose lorry was robbed.

Nine people were jailed in January for stealing televisions from the lorry found in West Bromwich in 2010.

West Midlands Police Economic Crime Unit said it applied for the cash to be seized after it was found in Shropshire at an address connected to the theft.

On Tuesday, magistrates in Birmingham approved the seizure application.

They agreed the money, found in suitcases in a bedroom in Highley, should be considered to be the proceeds of haulage theft.

It is the biggest ever forfeiture achieved by the force, police said.

The occupant at the address, 56-year-old Phillip Hartill, was initially detained on suspicion of money laundering and handling stolen goods, but following police inquiries was later released and no criminal charges were brought against him.

The economic crime unit made the application after no charges were brought.

The body of lorry driver Bogdan Bartczak was found in Vale Road, Dudley, on 1 November, 2010.

Suspected heart attack

The 57-year-old's lorry, containing LG television sets, was found stripped of its contents on an industrial estate.

The offenders admitted charges including robbery and handling stolen goods and were jailed earlier this year.

Post-mortem tests failed to determine the cause of Mr Bartczak's death, but police said it was treated as a suspected heart attack.

The eight men and one youth convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in January:

  • Anthony Kennedy, 30, from Tipton, was sentenced to eight years in prison for robbery and handling stolen goods.
  • Phillip Harthill, 32, from West Bromwich, was sentenced to eight years for robbery and burglary.
  • Daniel Knight, 29, from Tipton, was sentenced to seven years for robbery and and handling stolen goods.
  • Neino Scarrett, 24, from Dudley, was sentenced to seven years for robbery and handling stolen goods.
  • Glen Garner, 25, from West Bromwich was sentenced to six years and six months for robbery and burglary.
  • Martin Payne, 32, from Oldbury, West Midlands, was sentenced to 18 months for burglary, to run consecutively with another earlier burglary sentence, meaning a total of four years and three months in jail.
  • Robert Warren, 34, from Quinton, Birmingham, was sentenced to three years for attempted theft and assisting offenders.
  • Craig Street, 49, from Walsall, was sentenced to 16 months for handling stolen goods.
  • A 17-year-old youth from Dudley, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a two-year detention and training order for robbery and handling stolen goods.

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