Police coffers boosted

A CASH windfall - made up of criminals' ill-gotten gains - has swelled the coffers of Suffolk's hard-up police force, it emerged today.

A CASH windfall - made up of criminals' ill-gotten gains - has swelled the coffers of Suffolk's hard-up police force, it emerged today.

The county's constabulary is to receive a £43,000 boost from the assets seized from offenders under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Criminal assets confiscated by police forces and other asset recovery agencies between April and June 2008 totaled £28.6 million.

Since the Proceeds of Crime Act came into effect in 2003, £497million has been seized nationwide.

The legislation allows police force's to retain 50 per cent of the money seized through forfeiture orders, while the remaining 50pc is divided between police, prosecutors and courts.

Between April and June, that figure equates to £14.3m. Of that, £5.97million will be given to police forces in England and Wales, a significant increase on the £3.71million paid out in the same quarter last year.

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The money is used by police to carry out further investigations and to support community and charitable projects, including schemes which aim to prevent young people becoming involved in drugs and crime.

Only last month, a couple who were jailed for running a string of seedy brothels in Suffolk and Essex were told they must pay almost £80,000 or face further time behind bars.

Anthony Pryor, 60, and Quing Hue Pryor, 39, of The Plain, Epping, were each sentenced to 18 months in prison in January after being found guilty of three charges of keeping a brothel for the purposes of prostitution.

But Judge David Turner QC ordered Mr Pryor to pay £70,804.44 or spend an extra two years in jail, while his wife must forfeit £8,489.34 or serve a further six months.

Mick Creedon, Association of Chief Police Officers' lead on asset recovery, said: “The public are quite rightly sick and tired of seeing criminals leading lavish lifestyles without challenge.

“All forces across England and Wales are determined to respond to this and make full use of the available powers granted under the Proceeds of Crime Act and other legislation.

“We continue to work closely with the Home Office and other asset recovery agencies to ensure that not only crime doesn't pay, but that it is also seen by the public that it doesn't pay.”

How should the cash be spent? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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