Sunday, November 23, 2003

Courts seize criminals' assets

More than £1.5m has been seized from criminals in Scotland under new powers to confiscate their assets.

The Proceeds of Crime Act aims to target the ill-gotten gains of the "untouchables" of the crime world.

Since the law came into force in April, £1,548,461 has been recovered north of the border.

Half the assets seized in Scotland stay in the country to be spent on initiatives which aim to repair communities damaged by drug dealers.

The new legislation allows courts to seize assets they believe have been funded by crime, even if there is no conviction.

The new criminal confiscation unit (CCU) has gained 37 confiscation orders worth £1,203,482 in the last eight months.

In the same period last year there were 17 orders amounting to £338,000.

The largest confiscation order was served on Michael Webster, who was jailed for 30 months in June on drugs charges.

More than £197,000 was seized from him the following month.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Drugs gang jailed for 18 years

A drugs gang put under police surveillance for a year, have been jailed for a total of 18 years.

The seven defendants pleaded guilty to supplying heroin and crack cocaine as well as obtaining goods by deception, when they appeared at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court.

They were arrested after Greater Manchester Police (GMP) set up Operation Confidence in November 2002.

Detectives filmed the gang doing deals in the Ashton-under-Lyne area of Greater Manchester, with those buying the drugs often using stolen credit cards and cheques.

On Thursday GMP said the surveillance was concentrated on a house in Burlington Street, Ashton, from where the drugs were stored and distributed.