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Proceeds of Crime (R011751)

Proceeds of Crime (R011751)

Thank you for your e-mail of 15 November 2015 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

“What was the total value of money seized through the proceeds of crime act during the past 12 months from Aberdeen, Peterhead, Banff and Elgin Sheriff Courts.

Please break this total down to show the total values seized at each of the courts over the same period.

What were the ten highest values seized, provide details of the cases each related to, at which court the cases called and the dates each
seizure was ordered.”

We have now completed our search for the information you request, and can report as follows:

Firstly, I should explain that there are two specialised units within COPFS dealing with work under the Proceeds of Crime Act, namely:

(i) Criminal confiscation which is dealt with by the Serious and Organised Crime Division (SOCD); and

(ii) Civil recovery which is dealt with by the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU).

Both units have provided information in response to your request.

(i) The Serious and Organised Crime Division (SOCD) has primary responsibility for the implementation of Proceeds of Crime legislation throughout Scotland, in so far as it relates to restraint and confiscation. Additionally SOCD has responsibility for the management of the Expedited Referrals Project and liaison with the Civil Recovery Unit on appropriate cases.  The aim of criminal confiscation provisions of Proceeds of Crime legislation is to allow the court, following a conviction, to make a confiscation order requiring an accused to pay a fixed sum of money reflecting the benefit obtained from either particular criminal conduct, or, in appropriate cases, from a criminal lifestyle.

The following figures set out the total confiscation orders made within Aberdeen, Peterhead and Elgin Sheriff Courts in the last 12 months to 30 November 2015 and the table provides case details for all nine confiscation orders made at those Sheriff Courts during this period.  No orders have been made at Banff Sheriff Court during this period.  Please note that the initials “MDA” in the Charge column of the table refer to the Misuse of Drugs Act

Total Orders for £27,531.46
Total Orders made at Aberdeen Sheriff Court £7.031.31
Total Orders made at Peterhead Sheriff Court £1,975.00
Total Orders made at Elgin Sheriff Court £18,525.15


The aim of the criminal confiscation provisions of POCA is to allow the court to make a confiscation order requiring an accused to pay a fixed sum of money relating to the benefit obtained from his general criminal conduct in a criminal lifestyle case and from his particular criminal conduct otherwise.

A criminal confiscation order therefore remains an order to pay a fixed sum of money and is entirely separate from forfeiture of items such as cars and cash used in the commission of the crime itself.

In a particular criminal conduct case, the benefit relates directly to the offence or offences before the court. In a general criminal conduct/criminal lifestyle case, by the use of statutory assumptions in POCA, the court is entitled to assume that any benefit received over the preceding 6 year period has been obtained in connection with his general criminal conduct unless the accused establishes that it was obtained legitimately. In such criminal lifestyle/general criminal conduct cases, such benefit does not require to be linked to the offence or offences of which the accused is convicted nor to any previous offences.

The upper limit of a confiscation order is the amount of benefit which the accused has made from his general criminal conduct. This is known as the recoverable amount. If, however, the accused can satisfy the court that the available amount (i.e. the realisable property which he or she holds) is less than the recoverable amount, then the confiscation order will be made for the available amount.

In instances where there are no assets available at the time a confiscation order is made an order can be made for as small a figure as £1.00.  These confiscation orders are called nominal confiscation orders.  The purpose of a nominal order is to preserve the Crown’s position, so that if the accused obtains any assets in the future the Crown can ask the court to recalculate the confiscation order.

(ii) The Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) acts on behalf of the Scottish Ministers as the enforcement authority for Scotland under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.  CRU functions under the 2002 Act can be divided into two areas: asset recovery and cash forfeiture.  Cash forfeiture cases only are heard in the Sheriff Court.  Other assets are dealt with by proceedings raised in the Court of Session and therefore not applicable to this request.

The following figures set out the seizures of cash within the jurisdictions of Aberdeen, Peterhead, Elgin and Banff Sheriff Courts which were referred to the Civil Recovery Unit in the 12 months to 30 November 2015.  Where cash is seized by police or customs officers, either an application is made for its continued detention pending forfeiture proceedings or a forfeiture application is made immediately.  Accordingly, the following sums of cash may be regarded as having been restrained during the relevant period and will not equate to the amounts ultimately forfeited:-


Amounts of cash seized under POCA 2002












The following table lists the ten largest cash seizures across all the aforementioned Sheriff Courts for the year to 30 November 2015:

Name(s) of Defenders

Date of cash seized

Sheriff Court


Jason Cox




Helen Campbell




Michelle Morrice




Shaun Ross




Graham Wilson




Robert Richards




James MacAskill




Anita Horvarth




Robert Burns




Hua Mei Yu