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More than 120,000 forfeited by GMP following recovery of cash
Friday 24th September, 2010

Greater Manchester Police has been granted a forfeiture worth more than 120,000 from a scrapyard used as a front for criminals.

At a hearing at Bolton Magistrates Court today, Friday 24 September 2010, 121,700 was forfeited from Howe Bridge Salvage, at Chanters Lane, Wigan.

Today's ruling follows a complex investigation by GMP's Cash Investigation Team.

In 2003 William Bates, then aged 63, of The Whitehouse, was convicted at Bolton Crown Court of handling stolen car parts and insurance fraud. As well as being jailed for 12 months, he was also banned from acting as director of a company for five years.

He continued to operate as director in clear breach of the ban and a search warrant was executed in April 2007.

The search lasted a number of days and officers found parts from 86 separate stolen cars, together with two complete stolen cars in the course of being broken up for parts.

Later that month officer searched William Bates' home and found a suitcase containing 121,700 in cash hidden in a wall panel.

He was arrested and interviewed and stated he had not bought any of the stolen car parts and no mention of the cash was found in the company books.

The company, with its flawed corporate structure, was not operating within normal limits of accountability. It had become a ready market for vehicle criminals to cash in the proceeds of their crimes, effectively fuelling these crimes and causing misery to victims.

The criminal case was not pursued further after the Crown Prosecution Service decided it would be impossible to prove who brought which car parts to the business.

William Bates died on 2 February 2010. After careful consideration it was decided that GMP should continue with its application to forfeit the cash.

Detective Constable John Towsend, financial investigator with GMP's Cash Investigation Team, said: "In achieving this result I would like to assure communities, and in particular victims of car crime, that we are determined to make full use of the law to ensure crime does not pay, whatever the circumstances of those who may have benefited from it.

"A proportion of the cash may be made available to police in Wigan to use to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

"However, half of the cash will now be available for community based projects via the Ministry of Justice Community Cashback Scheme. I would urge anyone or any organisation in Wigan or anywhere else in the Greater Manchester Police area who would like funding for a project that will strengthen their community to make an application under that scheme.

"They can do so via the direct.gov.uk website or by contacting their Councillor, MP or Neighbourhood Policing Team for assistance in doing so."

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