Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire criminals hand over £1.1m from proceeds of crime

Criminals in Staffordshire have been forced to hand over £1.1m from the proceeds of crime so far this year.

Staffordshire Police figures for 2011/12 could be doubled with a similar amount in cash pending forfeiture or confiscation hearings.

Police say more than £400,000 came from jailed Stafford businessman Paul Cope.

Some of the money recovered has been used to compensate victims of crime as well as to fund the force's crackdown on drugs - Operation Nemesis.

The police's Economic Crime Unit (ECU) seeks confiscation orders to force offenders to pay money equal to the amount they benefited from crime.

Det Ch Insp Paul Clews, head of the ECU, said they continued "to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to take the profit out of crime".

'Turning lives around'

He said: "We've now been granted confiscation orders totalling over £13 million in the last five years. There is a strong link between hitting offenders in the pocket and cutting crime and anti-social behaviour.

"As a force, we're taking positive action to turn the lives around of at-risk youngsters through initiatives such as the Right Stuff Boxing Club - and criminals are helping to pay for this."

Cope was ordered to pay back more than £406,000 in a confiscation hearing at Birmingham Crown Court in July. He had been jailed for 64 months for fraud the previous year.

A police statement added: "As well as having to pay the order, Cope had his home - Barn Bank Manor in Hyde Lea, Stafford - four other residential properties, several business premises and cars including a Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and Ferrari, repossessed."

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