Mar 14 2013 by Tom Duffy, Skelmersdale Advertiser
A SKELMERSDALE drug dealer may be forced to hand over thousands of pounds to the police.
Barry Caulfield, 35, of Turnberry, could have to hand over £7,080, which the police suspect was linked to crime.
Caulfield pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and possession of Class A drugs at Liverpool Crown Court in January.
He was arrested last year after police raided his Skelmersdale home and seized drugs, a mobile phone and cash.
The proceeds of crime hearing took place at Chorley Magistrates’ court on February 28 and was adjourned until May 16 while evidence is exchanged.
Caulfield, who was bailed after appearing at Liverpool Crown Court in January, will be sentenced in September.
A spokesman for Lancashire police said: “Removing the profit from crime, in addition to any sentence imposed by the court, is not only morally right but it serves to remove negative role models from society.
“If young people see criminals enjoying a lifestyle that they haven’t got legitimately, then they might be more easily persuaded to follow in their footsteps.”
Last year, Lancashire Constabulary seized over £5m in cash, cars and drugs from criminals.
The force’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit seized drugs, including heroin and cocaine, worth £1,961,355.
Cash totalling £949,735 was also seized, along with 40 vehicles worth a total of £561,026.
The unit, along with dedicated financial investigators out in the divisions, also used legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to force criminals to surrender £3,667,324 of their illegally amassed cash and assets, including making them sell off expensive cars and homes.
This was done through a number of confiscation and forfeiture orders, with twice as many being granted by the courts in comparison to the previous year.
Money collated through POCA court hearings is split between the different criminal justice agencies and is then ploughed back into crime fighting initiatives.
Lancashire Constabulary has used some of the criminals’ cash that it has received to buy specialist equipment including CCTV and thermal imaging cameras.
Detective Chief Inspector Tim Leeson, from the SOCU, commented on the initiative at the time.
He said: “It is disheartening for law-abiding residents when they see criminals living a lavish lifestyle, with large homes, fast cars and other expensive possessions funded by money gained through the misery of others.
“SOCU officers are dedicated to seizing drugs and firearms from criminals so that they cannot benefit from their illegal trade.”
The Proceeds of Crime Act of 2002 gave the police the power to seize cash believed to be linked to crime.
The legislation created the Assets Recovery Agency, which later became the Serious Organised Crime Agency.