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Cash confiscated from Scarborough fraudster


3:46pm 18th October 2011

A Scarborough man who abused his position at a local engineering firm has been ordered to repay tens of thousands of pounds at a confiscation hearing.

A judge at York Crown Court yesterday (17th October 2011) ordered John Birdsall, 29, to pay back over £42,000 after he was convicted earlier this year of fraud by abuse of position.

Birdsall, of Heathcliff Gardens, Scarborough, was given a two-year conditional discharge when he was sentenced in May 2011, after pleading guilty to using machinery at an engineering firm, where he was employed, to make shower fittings and other components which he later sold on eBay.

The court heard that Birdsall had been running a lucrative sideline business and had netted £42, 054 from his online sales.

It was put to the court that Birdsall’s profits had been significantly less than the reported figure due to the price of materials and delivery costs. However the judge, Recorder Jackson QC, agreed with the prosecution that the benefit from Birdsall’s crimes was the £42,054 gross proceeds he had received.

The judge instructed a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act, stating that Birdsall must pay back his currently held assets of £1,586 in compensation to his former employers within six months, or face a prison sentence if he fails to do so.

POCA legislation is designed to confiscate the benefits of criminality from offenders and should Birdsall’s financial circumstances change, the prosecution have the right to re-visit the confiscation order and recover the outstanding £40,000.

Detective Constable Neil Jefferson, of North Yorkshire Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said:

“The Proceeds of Crime Act is a great way of ensuring that criminals do not benefit from their illegal activities.

“Birdsall abused his position of trust own personal gain and made a substantial amount of money at the expense of his employers.

“I am pleased that the court has recognised that he profited from his crimes and have taken a course of action which means that he will never benefit financially from what he has done.”

The money which is confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act is collected by the Home Office, who then redistribute some of the funds to various crime fighting agencies such as the police and the Criminal Justice System.

North Yorkshire Police use some of the money they receive to help local community projects via the Why Should They? campaign.

For more information about the Why Should They? campaign visit the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/whyshouldthey

Last year North Yorkshire Police confiscated more than £1million pounds of criminal cash.

 Police encourage members of the public to report anyone they suspect of living off illegal earnings.

Information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You do not have to give your name and could qualify for a cash reward.

Or,  you can contact North Yorkshire Police directly on 0845 60 60 247.

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