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Wilsons Auctions in new deal to sell proceeds of crime

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's Wilsons Auctions has won a multimillion-pound contract with the organised crime unit for the north-west of England. The Mallusk firm, now the biggest independent auctioneer in the UK and Ireland, will sell off ill-gotten gains seized by six police forces in Great Britain under a three-year contract.

It is the first major tender win for the company so far this year - and puts it in charge of asset sales for more than 40 police forces in the British Isles.

In the past year it has auctioned off items including a drug dealer's Cessna plane, a number of luxury cars and a Harley Davidson motorbike.

The latest deal will see it selling on goods for Merseyside Police, Cheshire Police, Lancashire Police, Cumbria Police, North Wales Police and Greater Manchester Police.

Its work for other police forces and agencies has raised £80m for the public purse in recent years, the company said.

Aidan Larkin, Wilsons Auctions' group asset recovery manager, welcomed the new deal.

"Wilsons Auctions is delighted to have been awarded the asset realisation service framework for six major police forces in the north-west of England," he said.

"Last year we were awarded contracts with a number of law enforcement agencies, so to win this significant contract really highlights the superior standard of service we provide.

"Wilsons Auctions is proud to manage the asset recovery of more than 40 law enforcement agencies in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

"By providing an online auction facility, we are opening up our business to a worldwide audience on behalf of our clients, as well as accommodating physical bidders in our auction houses."

Wilsons was formed in 1936 by William J Wilson. The company is now directed by Mr Wilson's son, Ian.

Turnover at the company in 2015 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.

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