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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
More criminal cash to be seized
Police and customs officers are stepping up their efforts to seize money and property from criminals.

The Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands forces have jointly launched Operation Payback to claw back riches gained illegally.

They say they are "redoubling efforts" to seize assets as some of them will be given back to law enforcement agencies to tackle crime.

The powers, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, came into effect last year.

It is very frustrating for hard-working, law-abiding citizens to know that criminals are making large sums of cash
Asst Chief Cons Nick Tofiluk

Asst Chief Cons Nick Tofiluk, regional head of Operation Payback, said: "We already arrest a substantial proportion of people wanted for offences.

"But now, as well as facing the criminal justice system and being punished by the courts, criminals will know their finances and assets are also going to be very closely scrutinized.

"Wherever we believe cash or property - including cars, houses, jewellery and electrical equipment - is a benefit of illegal activity, we have the power to restrain, investigate, and potentially confiscate.

"Most criminals are motivated by money and some can amass very substantial fortunes through their illegal activity.

"It is very frustrating for hard-working, law-abiding citizens to know that criminals are making large sums of cash by being parasites on our communities."

British Transport Police, the Regional Task Force and HM Customs and Excise are also involved in the scheme.




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