Leicestershire Police open new 'high life' probe after Audi R8 sold for £70,000
Police are investigating 80 people who have been accused of living the high life on the proceeds of crime.
Leicestershire Police received the tip-offs from members of the public in the wake of its decision to sell a convicted criminal's sports car on eBay last month.
The car, an Audi R8, has been sold for £70,000 – which has now been paid into public funds for use in the fight against crime.
The force said the sale demonstrated its powers to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The £95,000 car was confiscated by a court after its owner – a Leicestershire warehouse worker – failed to explain how he paid for it.
Dave Hargrave, of the force's economic crime unit, said: "Since the publicity around the sale of the Audi last month, we've received 80 items of information from members of the public.
"They relate to what we call acquisitive crime, including money laundering and drugs offences.
"These are now being investigated and we will find if this information has any merit."
Mr Hargrave said the force was preparing two more cars – which have also been confiscated from their convicted criminal owners – for auction on its eBay account.
The vehicles, a 2007 Mazda MPS and a 1996 Range Rover Vogue, are expected to be listed for a seven-day auction next week.
The Audi was originally offered for sale through the Force's eBay shop, but failed to attract a buyer. It was sold for £70,000 through a specialist website to a private buyer in the east of England, the force confirmed yesterday.
At the beginning of the latest publicity drive last month, Zuffar Haq, vice-chairman of Leicestershire Crimestoppers, said: "There has been a tremendous response from the public. Some of the people they have mentioned will no doubt turn out to be entirely innocent.
"But if this leads to one criminal being arrested and having the proceeds of crime confiscated, then it will have been worth it.
"It is vital that information comes in and we want to thank everyone for ringing in."
Leicestershire is the only British police force to operate an eBay shop to sell valuables seized from convicted criminals. In the three years it has been running auctions, it has raised a total of £640,000.
Half the proceeds of sales are divided between the force, the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service in Leicestershire. The remainder is paid to central government, which distributes some to good causes.
Contact Leicestershire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.