TalkTalk hacker Elliott Gunton: Cryptocurrency auctioned by police

Image source, East Anglia News Service
Image caption,
Elliott Gunton was jailed for hacking TalkTalk

A police force has auctioned off more than £240,000 of cryptocurrency confiscated from a teenage hacker.

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit sold the stash, which included Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum, in what it said was a first for UK police.

It is understood the currency came from Elliott Gunton, of Old Catton, near Norwich, who received a jail sentence for hacking internet provider TalkTalk.

The unit said the money raised would go towards fighting crime.

The assets were sold in small lots by Wilsons Auctions and all bidders were approved users of cryptocurrency, to ensure the digital money could not fall back into criminal hands.

'No place to hide'

Det Ch Insp Martin Peters, of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, said: "Asset recovery in a digital world has evolved, so it's really important that, working alongside commercial partners, we have a clear process for the storage and sale of cryptocurrency.

"This goes to show there is no place to hide criminal assets - we are constantly developing our techniques and capabilities to ensure that proceeds of crime are either given back to the rightful owner or, as in this case, are reinvested in crime."

Gunton pleaded guilty to computer misuse and money-laundering among other offences and was jailed for 20 months and given a three-year community order.

He had offered to supply compromised personal data, including mobile phone numbers, for others to use for criminal purposes, such as intercepting calls and texts to commit fraud.

He advertised his services in exchange for Bitcoin, in a bid to hide the payments from police.

Meanwhile, Gunton's parents Carlie and Jason have admitted helping him by moving ill-gotten cryptocurrency from a seized Bitcoin wallet.

His mother pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court to transferring criminal property, while his father admitted the same charge at an earlier hearing. He also admitted perverting the course of justice.

They are due to be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday.

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