MORE than £1m of criminal cash has been seized by police in the region so far this financial year.

Thames Valley Police have – since April last year – secured 157 cash detention orders, nearly reaching the force's target of 160.

In all, £1,009,357 has been seized with £305,786 already forfeited through 51 court orders.

Det Insp Gavin Tyrrell, head of the Economic Crime Unit (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.”

He added: “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.”

Once cash has been ordered forfeited by the courts, it goes to central Government and 50 per cent of it is returned to the police force who obtained the order.