MORE than £1million of cash has been seized from criminals by officers in the Thames Valley.

The police force's Economic Crime Unit is on track to meet its cash detention order target for this financial year, which was to make 160 confiscations of criminal cash.

As of this week, 157 orders have been obtained under the Proceeds of Crime act which amount to £1,009,356.78.

Det Insp Gavin Tyrrell, head of the ECU, said: "When the police find someone with over £1,000 in cash and we suspect it has come from crime or is going to fund crime, the Proceeds of Crime Act allows us to seize it. This year alone we have seized over £1 million.

"Once the cash has been seized, financial investigators in the ECU carry out in-depth investigations into the finances of the individual who had the cash to prove its’ derivation, and if there is evidence to suggest on the balance of probabilities that it came from crime or was to be used in crime, a forfeiture order application will be made to a magistrates’ court. If the magistrates are satisfied that the cash is a product of criminal activity, it will be forfeited."

Out of the money taken, 51 forfeiture orders amounting to £305,785.80 have already been granted.

Police can also seize assets, such as houses and cars, from people convicted of criminal offences by applying for a confiscation order if they believe they paid for their possessions using crime. These orders are not included in the £1 million figure; this relates only to cash seizures.

Det Insp Tyrrell added: "The seizure of this huge amount of cash is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved throughout Thames Valley Police and is as a result of proactive and targeted operations against organised criminals as well as normal policing activities.

"This should send a clear warning to the criminals that harm our communities that we will use every tactic available to bring you to justice and remove the profit from crime."

If you know or suspect someone is living from the proceeds of crime, call police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.