A British police force has raked in £1.5m after coming up with a plan to sell designer goods seized from criminals on the auction site ebay. Leicestershire Police came up with the pioneering scheme to add to force funds.
It is selling goods seized under the proceeds of crime act and people visiting the force’s ebay items have snapped up items such as handbags and shoes from designers including Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood and Christian Louboutin. Other goods have included Rolex watches, luxury vehicles, and even a private plane, which was once the property of a drugs kingpin. The Zenair Zodiac plane was once used to traffic Class A drugs with a street value of £1.7m. But its crinimal history did not put off bidders and it went for £17,200.
Money raised from the auction site goes back into running policing services as well as the Crown Prosecution Service. Since the force decided to launch an online presence in 2009, it has sold a whopping 6,000 items, making a total of £1.5m. Some of the money raised is given to victims of crime in compensation.
Pen Wenlock, the force’s economic crime unit head said that most of the goods came from drug dealing. He said that drug dealers could not help but show off and went out buying “bling items” which are not up for auction. Two hundred items came from one drug dealer alone.
He said that popular items this year had included a VW car, which went for £18,000. Handbags from Mulberry and Prada have also proved popular. Mr Wenlock said it was natural that law abiding citizens asked why people committing crime should have a plush car on their driveway, or a new Rolex on their wrist, without seeming to have a legitimate way of making money. He urged anyone who believed they knew someone living a lifestyle way beyond their means to get in touch with police.