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Wilsons Auctions in Mallusk to create 10 jobs after landing £25m proceeds of crime contract

By Margaret Canning

Published 29/09/2016

Aidan Larkin of Wilsons Auctions with a plane used in an attempt to smuggle drugs that the firm later sold off
Aidan Larkin of Wilsons Auctions with a plane used in an attempt to smuggle drugs that the firm later sold off

Wilsons Auctions is to create 10 jobs in Northern Ireland after winning a £25m deal to sell off the proceeds of crime for seven UK police forces.

The family company, which is based in Mallusk, will be the sole auctioneer selling off goods seized by police forces including the PSNI and Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

It will be shifting everything from jewellery to yachts and computers as part of the four-year contract.

The firm said it had already helped collect £80m from selling the proceeds of crime for police forces around the UK in recent years.

Aidan Larkin, Wilsons Auctions' group asset recovery manager, added: "Wilsons Auctions is delighted to have been awarded this significant contract, working with a number of high-profile agencies including the PSNI and Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

"The superior standard of service we provide in the collection, valuation and auctioning of assets on behalf of our extensive client base is testament to our expertise in this area."

Wilsons currently employs 325 people across the UK and Ireland after starting out 80 years ago with just 12 staff.

A spokeswoman said 25 new staff would be sought, including 10 in Northern Ireland, to work on a contract refurbishing vehicles and equipment before they go to auction.

The firm will also take on 15 new couriers and back-up staff in Great Britain to work on contracts in England and Wales.

Wilsons recently bought auction businesses in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Maidstone in Kent, where it purchased premises which formerly belonging to surveyors Lambert and Foster.

A spokeswoman revealed that the company was also on the lookout for new premises in the Midlands.

A site in Dalry outside Glasgow was the business's first opening in Great Britain.

The firm recently opened an office in Spain for the sale of international property for government clients.

Under its latest contract, Wilsons will sell off assets seized by the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, as well as South Wales Police, Gwent Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, Natural Resources Wales, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Derbyshire Constabulary.

Earlier this year, Wilsons put up for auction a £100,000 Cessna P210 Centurion plane seized during an attempt to smuggle £5m of drugs in north Yorkshire.

Speaking at the time, Aidan Larkin said the plane was an undoubted auction star. "It has a very colourful history," he added. "It was recovered from an attempted drug smuggle and we have been instructed by the Government to sell it."

Representatives of Wilsons Auctions attend the homes of suspects with police forces or government agencies after a conviction to see what goods have been amassed and which can seized and sold off.

Wilsons was formed in 1936 by William J Wilson. It is now directed by his son, Ian.

Turnover at the company last year was £11.1m, up from £10.9m in 2014.

Pre-tax profits, meanwhile, more than doubled from £292,827 to £768,023.

Police work aside, the core of the business remains its regular vehicle auctions.

It sells off vehicles on behalf of car giant Lookers plc - and its subsidiary, Charles Hurst, in Northern Ireland.

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