Crime cash seized in major police operation
Over £225,000 pounds of cash has been recovered from suspected criminals and £7 million worth of assets have been referred for seizure in one of the largest operations ever undertaken by police in Scotland.
Two vehicles were seized, £316,000 of drugs and £25,440 worth of stolen and counterfeit goods were also seized during the enforcement phase of the “Made From Crime?” campaign.
The initiative aims to target those making money illegally through crime, and for the past three days 400 uniformed and detective officers across the East of Scotland have been actively pursuing suspects.
The campaign was launched in January this year by Lothian and Borders Police, Fife Constabulary and Central Scotland Police and asked members of the public to come forward to the charity Crimestoppers and report their suspicions about people making money illegally.
Marketing materials and a 20 foot long Ad-Trailer were placed in key locations across the East of Scotland and special Facebook adverts that were geo-targeted to people living in the area ran through the six-week ‘intelligence-gathering’ phase.
Throughout the campaign, Crimestoppers reported a 31% percent rise in all calls across the East of Scotland area to the charity.
All of this intelligence was gathered and analysed by officers, before the latest enforcement action this week.
Between 7am on Wednesday 13th to 7am on Friday 15th March, 78 addresses were targeted and 74 people were arrested throughout Central Scotland, Fife and Lothian and Borders area.
The joint working between Central Scotland Police, Fife Constabulary and Lothian and Borders Police comes in advance of the Police Service of Scotland launching on 1st April. These forces will join to form “East Command”, and are already beginning to share services and resources under the Specialist Crime Division, a powerful new division to tackle serious crime.
Today (Friday 15 March) police will host a media conference at Lochend’s Ripple Project, a charity that has benefited from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities Scheme, to discuss the results.
Detective Superintendent David Gordon, Head of Serious Organised Crime for the Specialist Crime Division in the East of Scotland, said: “This campaign was deliberately designed to be ambitious and tenacious and target criminals who believed they could live lavish lifestyles from the proceeds of crime. The response we had from local communities throughout the intelligence gathering phase was fantastic, and showed that they were not prepared to tolerate criminality in their area.
“The months of planning for the enforcement phase have paid off throughout the past few days, and we are delighted with the results, which is a fantastic start for the new Specialist Crime Division. Criminals have no regard for boundaries and borders and the SCD is giving us increased flexibility to go where they go, and target them where they operate in a leaner, meaner and sharper way.
“We will work with our partners in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to ensure those arrested in connection with the operation are faced with the full force of the law, and we will also work with the Scottish Government to ensure the money we have seized can be put back into communities.
“This is not the end of our activity and I would appeal to people to continue to come forward with this vital intelligence so that we can actively pursue those living beyond their means. We will not stand for criminality in our communities in Scotland.”
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “This important initiative has built on the good progress that was made a year ago when it was first launched and the achievements of these past weeks are to be welcomed. The work that has been undertaken by police in Lothian and Borders, Central and Fife has been assisted by members of the public who have provided information. I thank everyone who has assisted the police in this way.
“There should be no hiding place in our neighbourhoods for those who cash in on crime and this will continue to be a top priority for this Government and the new single police service when it goes live shortly.”
Kate Jackson, National Manager for Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “This has been a very successful campaign which has seen a significant and sustained increase in calls to the charity of 31% for the Lothian & Borders, Central and Fife areas of Scotland. Members of the public clearly want to make a difference in their area by reporting criminals and wrongdoing and don’t like to see anyone living off the proceeds of crime. I would urge anyone with information to continue to do this and to report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at the Crimestoppers website.”