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Police seize £1.33m following Polish lorry driver robbery
A BIRMINGHAM court has ordered the seizure of £1.33m, believed to be proceeds from a haulage theft incident during which a polish lorry driver was found dead in Darby End.
The forfeiture of the cash, which was found hidden in a bedroom of the Shropshire home of 56-year-old Phillip Hartill, is the biggest ever achieved by the force and despite initial criminal proceedings against the man being dropped, officers pursued the cash seizure through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Police believe the cash, discovered during a search in December 2010, is derived from crime and the court accepted the police proposition that the money should be considered to be the proceeds of the incident in November 2010, when 57-year-old Polish HGV driver, Bogdan Bartczak had his load of televisions worth £250,000 stolen.
He was later discovered dead by a resident in Vale Road from a suspected heart attack.
Nine men were convicted for the offences in January this year – including two from Dudley.
During the inquiry officers searched Highley’s address and initially detained him on suspicion of money laundering and handling stolen goods, but he was eventually released and no criminal charges were brought against him.
DS Jonathan Jones from the Economic Crime Unit, who led the seizure application, said: "This is an excellent outcome and demonstrates that police, supported by the courts, will use the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate any assets that have been obtained by criminal activity. This result is the biggest cash forfeiture West Midlands Police has ever achieved and represents a serious blow to the criminal finances of Hartill and his associates.”