NCA seize home of alleged UDA member
Police have seized the home of an alleged senior member of the South East Antrim UDA.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has obtained a Recovery Order by consent over a Carrickfergus property under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
The investigation, carried out by officers working as part of the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF), related to the home of an alleged senior member of the paramilitary group South East Antrim UDA in Carrickfergus.
The NCA alleged that the property was originally acquired using the proceeds of mortgage fraud, tax evasion and money laundering, before being placed into his wife’s name.
Following the commencement of proceedings in the High Court in Belfast, the defendants decided not to contest the case and agreed to the house being recovered.
The PSNI, HM Revenue & Customs and the National Crime Agency have established the PCTF to tackle criminality linked to paramilitary activity as part of the Executive's action plan on Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality, and Organised Crime.
NCA Branch Commander Billy Beattie said that property seizures dissuaded criminal activity.
“Civil recovery and tax plays an integral role in the work of the PCTF, and these powers are a strong tool in preventing those engaged in criminal activity from benefiting financially or materially from it," he said.
“The NCA is committed to pursuing the assets of criminals, no matter how carefully they have been hidden.”
Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton PSNI's PCTF lead said the public had been providing police with information on paramilitary groups.
"Today's result is further evidence of how PSNI working together with NCA and HMRC through the PCTF has brought benefits for us and the community," he said.
“As the seizure demonstrates we will use any and all lawful means at our disposal to bring paramilitaries to justice. Whilst this latest seizure is significant we have a great deal more to do in conjunction with the wider Tackling Paramilitarism Program to rid our communities of the coercive control of paramilitaries.
“I have been encouraged in recent weeks by the increase in persons coming forward to police with information on paramilitary activity. It takes courage but it can make a huge difference.
“I would appeal to anyone with any information on paramilitaries and in particular their criminality and assets to speak to police in person or on 101.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital