A light aircraft that was used by an international drugs trafficking gang, to fly in cocaine with a street value of £1.7million, is due to be listed for sale on eBay.
The plane is expected to be listed on eBay with a reserve of £12,000 and is thought to be the first time a police force has seized an aeroplane under the Misuse of Drugs Act and progressed to selling it.
The money from the sale of the plane can be used for policing activities and community projects.
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said: “I believe this may be the first time a force in the country has seized an aeroplane and is in a position to sell it, so this is a great result for us.
“This goes to show that not only will we go after those who commit crime in our county, but we will also go after their assets and ill-gotten gains. Committing crime will not pay and we will do everything in our power to take away the possessions they have gained from their criminal activity.”
The plane was confiscated by officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit during an investigation into an organised crime gang.
The case concluded in November 2012 with the convictions of six men for a total of 37 years.
Class A drugs were driven from Amsterdam to France, where they were loaded onto the aircraft and flown into Northamptonshire.
All six men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Class A drugs. They were:
Christopher Andrew McGlone, aged 27, of Occupation Road, Corby was sentenced to five years
James Martin McGlone, aged 30, of Occupation Road, Corby was sentenced to six years
Wayne Burgess, aged 36, of Westfields Road, Corby was sentenced to four years
Adel Chouhaib, aged 33, of Lingfield Walk, Corby was sentenced to 10 years for his involvement in the cocaine conspiracy.
Richard Sweeney Murray, aged 48, of Greenhill Rise, Corby was sentenced to four years.
Abdelilah Hilali, aged 34, Marsham Street, London was sentenced to eight years.
Detective Inspector Greg Maides, senior investigating officer from EMSOU-SOC, said: “When a case such as this results in convictions at court and considerable prison sentences for the defendants, we do not see that as the end of the matter. We have the legislative powers to seize criminal assets to strip criminals of their possessions at every stage of the investigation.
“The fact that this plane was used to commit crime by transporting drugs into the UK meant that it could be forfeited under the Misuse of Drugs Act. In addition, action is being taken under the Proceeds of Crime Act to identify other assets belonging to the offenders, who clearly intended to make significant financial gains from their criminal activity. The money made from the sale of those assets can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from law enforcement work to community projects.
“It is relatively common to confiscate a criminal’s car, but it’s not often that we make an application to seize a plane so we can’t really predict how the bidding is likely to go. That said, whoever does buy it will do so knowing that their money is being put to good use and that they have helped deprive these offenders of a valuable asset that they planned to use to carry out their crimes.”
The plane is set to be listed on eBay at 8pm tonight and can be viewed at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Leicester-Police-POCA-Property