Convicted crooks in Blackpool pocketed at least £650,000 last year before being caught, The Gazette can reveal.
Many criminals making cash from the underworld were involved in fraud and drugs offences, and have been ordered to repay some of their ill-gotten gains through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Between April 2012 and April 2013, financial investigators at Blackpool Police Station had £180,000 of assets sezied from criminals.
A further £93,000 was taken through POCA cash seizures and forfeited in court.
In Lancashire, police have confiscated a total of £2.1m of criminal assets and forfeited a further £1.3m in cash.
Among the criminals is Sal Adams, from Blackpool, who committed a string of fraud offences.
His crimewave began in 2007, when he advertised a number of items for sale through Amazon that he did not have – conning around 100 victims out of £110,000.
In 2008, he was paid £22,000 for phones by another website, which he didn’t have, and he was given two mountain bikes, worth £5,000 each, for a fake magazine shoot.
Adams, 30, is still on the run after pleading guilty to his crimes in 2011, but the POCA team has secured the confiscation of £125,739.
He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison in his absence.
Financial investigator Annabel Fowden said: “We have confiscated £57,000 from him already which has been paid to victims in compensation, and have previously forfeited £90,000 in cash which was reimbursed to Amazon, but it’s down to him to pay the rest.”
Full debt will be repaid if criminals can afford it
Confiscation orders made by judges in crown court will order a criminal to repay what they can in assets, and while it may not be the full amount of their illegal earnings, checks will be made to ensure if they do come into money in the future, it can be used to pay their debt.
Annabel Fowden said: “If we believe the offender has acquired any new assets, such as a house or car, the confiscation order can be revisited and an application made requesting those assets to be forfeited.”