Hackney Council’s Trading Standards team is working with the Metropolitan Police to claim compensation from ‘rogue traders’ who have been trading illegally in the borough.
Hackney, in line with all local authorities, has powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to confiscate any financial gains made as a result of a breach of planning control. Under an incentive scheme the authority can claim for a percentage of the assets. For example, payment may come from the selling of property or money from the bank accounts of those convicted.
Over the past year, the Council has brought in thousands of pounds as a result of the scheme. Notable cases include a counterfeit DVD supplier selling on e-Bay which led to a confiscation order for over £13k. In another case, a seller of counterfeit designer goods at Ridley Road market was given a confiscation order of £40k. The largest Hackney case involved an order for £1.1m in the case a seller of fake clothes and shoes.
Any proceeds given to the Council are fed back into services, benefiting the community. There is currently one officer doing this work; who has been mentored by New Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jason Aldridge. The Council recently presented an award to DS Aldridge, in recognition of his support.
The Council plans to train more people to use the Act to claim compensation from other areas of the Council, such as Housing Benefits and Planning services.
Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “Those who carry out crime for economni advantage will pay for it, and these cases act as a warning to others tempted to break the law in our borough."