Crooks to be stripped of gambling assets

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New measures to combat organised crime in force from tomorrow (Monday) will see criminals’ jewellery and even assets like betting slips treated as if they were cash.

Police will also be able to search for and seize items of value such as watches, stamps and precious stones where they are suspected of being involved in illegal activity, in the same way they already do with currency.

But anything from casino chips to gaming vouchers will also be fair game for law enforcers.

Commenting on the Criminal Finances Act 2017, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This is a significant step in ensuring criminals cannot profit from unlawful activities and gives our law enforcement agencies additional powers to seize assets acquired by illegal means.

“More than £6 million was recovered by the Crown Office and the Civil Recovery Unit in 2017/18.

“However, expanding the definition of what can be treated as cash and what our police officers can search for as they seek to disrupt criminal activity has the potential to further impact Scottish organised crime.

“I am determined that crime will not pay and that every ill-gotten asset can be put back into communities through the Cashback programme, whether it’s a gemstone, betting slip or casino chip.

“There must be no respite in tackling organised crime and the harm it causes.”