Nearly £3 million clawed back from Bradford's criminals in just over two years

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Former boxer George Bailey in his championship days. Former boxer George Bailey in his championship days.

ALMOST £3 million has been clawed back from Bradford's criminals in just over two years, latest figures show.

The £2,834, 784 has been raised under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) since April 2012.

So far this financial year, £586,000 has been recovered, compared to £645,928 across the whole of 2013/14 and £1.6 million the previous year.

Last year, just under £1.8 million was recovered in Leeds and £799,000 in Kirklees - adding to a West Yorkshire total of £11.5 million.

The money was collected through confiscation orders, which are made after a person is convicted of an offence which resulted in financial gain, and forfeiture orders - made against an amount of cash when it is suspected that the money is linked to crime.

Sergeant Karen Milner, of Bradford District Proceeds Of Crime Unit, said: "The amount of money the Police recover under the Proceeds of Crime Act is purely dependent upon the circumstances of each case and can range from hundreds to millions of pounds.

"The time taken between the start of an enquiry and a confiscation order being granted can also have a bearing on the total funds recovered each year. Since April, £586,000 has already been accumulated in the Bradford District after the conclusion of a number of significant cases.

"In May for instance, a man from Riddlesden was ordered to repay a total of £211,651.18 within six months or go to prison for another two years and eight months during a hearing at Bradford Crown Court.

"He was previously sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for money laundering and perverting the course of justice, following a lengthy investigation by the Bradford POCA Investigation Team, which was commended by the judge for its thoroughness."

In December 2013, Faisal Amin, then 27, of Salt Street, Manningham, Bradford, and his two sisters, who were jailed for fraud and money laundering, were ordered to pay almost £200,000 under the Proceeds of Crime and in April 2012, former Bradford boxing champion George Bailey was ordered to pay back £10,000 of his illegal spoils earned through growing cannabis.

Currently, half of any POCA gains stays in the region and is split between force operational costs and the community, under a scheme run by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns Williamson.

He said: "Under current legislation, the Government keeps roughly half of the money seized from criminals in West Yorkshire, however; I believe that it should all be returned to the county.

"This could potentially double the cash available within my Safer Communities Fund and also the amount available to West Yorkshire Police for policing."

He said the Fund had received hundreds of applications for community projects working to help people be and feel safer and praised the work of the Economic Crime Unit at West Yorkshire Police.

West Yorkshire Police's 'Why Should They?' campaign seeks those living beyond their means through their illegal activities. People who suspect others are benefitting from ill-gotten gains can call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

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