POLICE in Hampshire recovered more than £1million in criminal cash and assets last year, new figures reveal.

Hampshire Constabulary collected proceeds of crime worth £1.3million in 2018-19, according to the latest Home Office data, which includes dirty money, goods and property.

Of this, £1.176million – 91 per cent – came from confiscation orders, which take place following a criminal conviction but will be started before sentencing.

The remainder came from powers to seize cash in civil proceedings.

The overall haul was higher than the value seized in the previous year, with an increase of 31 per cent from £988,334.

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Torgout, head of Hampshire Constabulary’s economic crime unit, said: “We pursue the seizure of criminal assets when we can see that people convicted of offences have benefited from their illegal activity. By using confiscation powers available to us under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, we will do everything we can to ensure that crime does not pay.

“Hampshire Constabulary won’t just stop at trying to secure jail terms for those who think they can line their pockets with illegal income. Eventually, we will make them pay it back.”

Just under £217m was collected by police forces, councils and government agencies across England, Wales and Northern Ireland using powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act – up 21 per cent over the five-year period. Since 2013, they have taken more than £1billion out of criminals’ hands.

Security minister Brandon Lewis credited the Government with “having a real impact” on stripping crooks of their “ill-gotten gains”.

He said: “This money is being ploughed back into law enforcement work and compensating victims.

“Last year, victims were paid £36m – which was a 27% increase on 2013-14.

“The new National Economic Crime Centre is harnessing intelligence and capabilities across the public and private sectors to bring people to justice.

“And our asset recovery action plan makes plain our ambition to improve these figures further and claw back even more dirty money.”

Tougher anti-corruption measures came into force last year to stem the tide of laundered cash flooding the UK.

They include Unexplained Wealth Orders, demanding a person or company explain where their money came from, and powers to freeze funds.