Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Bling campaign targets criminals

Seized BMW
Sussex Police use a convicted drug dealer's BMW to highlight their powers

A police campaign targeting people living lavish lifestyles on the proceeds of crime and money laundering has begun in Sussex.

Crimestoppers and Sussex Police joined forces for the campaign called "Too Much Bling, Give Us a Ring".

People are urged to report their suspicions about apparently wealthy people with no legitimate income.

Criminal assets worth 1.5m were forfeited and confiscated by Sussex Police between April and December 2008.

A police spokesperson said the government had returned 167,000 to the force in the last quarter.

It's incredibly disheartening for people to see others living affluent lives off the back of crime
Det Sgt Mick Richards, Sussex Police

The money will be used to fight crime and fund the training of more financial investigators.

Det Sgt Mick Richards, from Sussex Police's money laundering investigation team, said: "Members of the public are sick and tired of seeing people with no legitimate income living a lavish lifestyle and this is their opportunity to do something about it.

"It's incredibly disheartening for people to see others living affluent lives off the back of crime when they are leading honest lives and working hard, particularly in the current climate.

"Some criminals view a period in prison as an occupational hazard, but the Economic Crime Unit of Sussex Police will seek to strip them of their criminal gained assets as well - and this is where it will hit them hardest."

A two-week advertising campaign includes a website, bus posters and pub coasters.

Last year the force emblazoned the logo Operation Payback on a convicted drug dealer's BMW convertible to highlight the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

People can report suspicions by calling the police or Crimestoppers or by visiting the Too Much Bling website.



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