Imported gold worth £180,000 successfully forfeited

Gold jewellery worth approximately £180,000 has been forfeited at court, after a man attempted to conceal, and then understate, its value when arriving on a flight into the UK.

The items, which included necklaces, cufflinks and bracelets and weighed over 3kg, were initially seized by Border Force officers after a 50-year-old man was stopped at Gatwick Airport following his arrival from Dubai in October 2018.

Entering the green channel, the man failed to declare the gold and, when it was discovered, attempted to understate the value and weight, claiming the jewellery was for guests to wear at a wedding.

After being referred to investigators at the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), the jewellery was seized as a ‘listed asset’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act and further enquiries uncovered inconsistencies in his account.

Investigators subsequently applied for a forfeiture order for the gold and, following a hearing at Horsham Magistrates’ Court, the order was made on Thursday (6/2).

Recent amendments to legislation allows for the seizure and subsequent forfeiture of certain items, including precious metals, where we can satisfy the court they may derive from criminality or are intended for use in crime.

This allows us to remove the benefit from crime and disrupts criminals, affecting their ability to function as effectively, and is an important tool for law enforcement in the fight against organised crime.

The forfeiture was a result of our partnership working with Border Force and the dedicated work from our team, who worked diligently to investigate the provenance of these items. This has led to the court ordering the forfeiture of this gold, removing it from criminal hands and, demonstrates our determination to disrupt criminality through the means available to us.”

Senior Financial Investigator David Chave