Cash seized by police near Claverdon confirmed as criminal funds - The Leamington Observer

Cash seized by police near Claverdon confirmed as criminal funds

MORE than a quarter of a million pounds seized by police when they stopped a car near Claverdon has been confirmed as criminal funds.

The Warwickshire Police Economic Crime Unit has been successful in securing the forfeiture of the £268,000, which will not be returned to its alleged owner.

The seizure was granted under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 following a contested hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday March 20.

The cash was seized on October 3 2022 when officers stopped a car on the A4189 near Claverdon. The car had been linked to a possible child abduction in Liverpool earlier that day.

While there was no sign of the child in the car the officers did seize £268,000 in cash stuffed into two carrier bags.

The driver of the car – a man in his 40s from London – was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and interviewed at Leamington Police Station.

The suspect told officers the cash was part of his family fortune that had been sent from Turkey via a wire transfer to someone in Liverpool. He said he collected the bags of cash from an unknown man in a side street in Liverpool having been given the location in a WhatsApp message.

Following the suspects release from custody he supplied a document to the police which he claimed was a receipt for the transfer of the funds from Turkey to the UK.

While the criminal investigation was concluded with no charges for the suspect, Kaye Williams from the ECU continued with enquiries in an effort to link the cash to criminal activity.

These enquiries yielded two significant results. Firstly, a forensic examination of the carrier bags found they were contaminated with an unusually high level of heroin and cocaine.

Secondly, the fingerprint of a convicted armed robber and drug dealer was found on the bag.

During the court hearing the suspect stuck to his story but this was rejected by Deputy District Judge Hulse.

He ordered the forfeiture of all the cash plus accrued interest of £17,000.

DDJ Hulse cited the exceptionally large amount of cash involved, the suspicious circumstances in which the suspect claimed the transaction had taken place, the questionable source of the alleged transfer document and the forensic results linking the carrier back to drugs and a known convict.

Kay Williams said: “This is a great result for the ECU and for the people of Warwickshire, as the force will receive around £140,000 of the seized cash.

“The outcome shows that even when there is no direct evidence linking someone to a specific offence a financial investigation can still expose links between cash and serious crime. They can then be deprived of this cash.”

The man has 30 days to appeal against the order.

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