Police seize £6.5m of gangster assets

Police at the scene of the Hamilton & Inches raid last year. Picture: Scott Taylor
Police at the scene of the Hamilton & Inches raid last year. Picture: Scott Taylor
Have your say

Detectives have seized more than £6.5 million of criminal assets and arrested over 200 gangsters in the Capital in the past year.

The seizures under the Proceeds of Crime Act are worth £2m more than the ill-gotten gains confiscated in the previous 12 months.

A total of 235 organised criminals were arrested in 2014-15 – with a large proportion remanded in connection with major drug supply offences.

Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, Edinburgh’s divisional police commander, said the latest figures were “brilliant results”, adding: “There have been some great captures and great recoveries.”

The arrests were made in a busy year of high-profile incidents in the city, including a £1.3m armed jewellery heist at Hamilton and Inches in George Street, for which getaway driver Michael Hood was recently jailed for eight years. There was also a series of shootings at homes in the Gilmerton and Inch areas, linked to drug dealing and feuds between organised criminals.

The incidents on September 20 involved shots being fired at a Range Rover at The Murrays Brae and a suspicious device being left on the doorstep,

The severity of the incidents – which had been preceded by a shooting at a family home in Fernieside Avenue ten days earlier – led to the launch of Operation Hornbeam.

Officers arrested and charged a 26-year-old man in connection with the Gilmerton shootings, after a gun was recovered from the Gifford area of East Lothian. Nine men were also arrested for offences linked to the Fernieside incident.

Ch Supt Williams added: “A lot of that work goes unnoticed because of the covert nature. These arrests are the outcome of work that is often unseen, in terms of gathering intelligence and enforcing warrants.”

The £6.6m recovered last year is still being processed through the official channels.

While £3.238m related to the seizure of property assets obtained through serious and organised crime, £405,000 was confiscated in connection with drug-dealing and £261,000 was taken from bogus workers.

The remainder of the value is made up of cash and goods seized through warrant searches, ranging from drugs to counterfeit goods and weapons.

Conservative city councillor Cameron Rose, a former police officer, said: “I welcome the fact that £6.6m has been recovered from people who have been disrupting the community, and the success of breaking up the gangs.”

He said he would be delighted if the money was ploughed back via the Cashback for Communities scheme, which funds youth projects with cash seized from criminals.