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Campaign aimed at taking cash from criminals launched

Police have launched a new campaign (4424712)
Police have launched a new campaign (4424712)

A regional campaign aimed at taking cash from criminals has been launched by police.

The Too Much Bling campaign, which will be run across Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, will bring together information from the public and officers to help support Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) cases.

Any money made as the result of crime or obtained in connection with an offence can be recovered under POCA and anything bought with the proceeds of crime can also be confiscated – cars, jewellery, even homes.

Officers compile a report that shows what gain a criminal has made from a crime.

A judge is then able to put in place an order for the person to repay an amount immediately – usually within 30 days or face a prison sentence – and then the balance will remain on their criminal file.

This is where forces across the East Midlands need the help of their local communities. If someone in the community is living a life beyond their means – either as a convicted criminal or they are suspected of being involved in criminality – the public are encouraged to contact the police.

Paul Wenlock of the force’s economic crime unit, said: “Forces have used the POCA legislation for many years and it’s a powerful tool that helps us confiscate money from criminals.

“In Leicestershire in the last 12 months, £2 million has been confiscated from criminals, of this £1 million has been paid as compensation to victims of crime.

“We know criminals don’t respect boundaries and this new campaign will make sure that no matter where in the East Midlands they may travel – they will not escape justice.

“A large amount of crime is financially motivated.

"Criminals are living lavish lifestyles of other people’s misery.

"The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of POCA and to encourage anyone who has suspicions about someone they know, who may be living the highlife with no obvious means of income, to contact the police.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach welcomed the campaign and said: “Criminals do not respect county borders so this regional campaign makes total sense.

“It is only right that the assets purchased as a result of criminal behaviour can be seized and reinvested into local policing.

"I hope this campaign not only spreads the message that crime most certainly does not always pay, but encourages anyone with information to come forward and report it to the police.”

All information received will be treated in the strictest confidence and people can pass on details in many ways, quoting Operation Bling in any correspondence:

- Send police a direct message via Facebook or Twitter

- Call Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111

- Call 101

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