Buying cheap stolen goods is usually a quick way to get yourself in trouble but, it turns out there ways to do this legally.
Not many people know the tricks of getting these goods at a fraction of the normal costs but there are definitely some bargains to be had.
And, what’s best is you don’t even have to worry about breaking the law as the police even actively encourage it.
Many stolen goods are either lost or seized by police when they can’t find the rightful owners.
So, instead of letting it go to waste, many police forces across the UK sell on the loot they seize and there are some huge bargains out there.
Rest assured, this is not just a way for police to make a quick bit of money.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002, the public can purchase items that have formed part of a Court “Confiscation Order”.
The purpose of POCA is to deprive a convicted criminal of any financial benefit they have made through their crimes.
POCA empowers convicted criminals to sell their assets in order to pay off their confiscation order.
These goods are authentic but have been bought with money obtained through crime.
Karen Jaundrill, Detective Sergeant of the Financial Investigation Unit at Chesire Police said: “By selling items in this way, we hope to generate a bigger income from criminal assets, which in turn will benefit victims of crime and be reinvested in local policing initiatives.”
The cash raised from these online auctions will go back to the Home Office, to good causes and victims of crimes.
There are three main ways police sell stolen goods
Bumblebee Auctions – This is a dedicated eBay-style site used by many police forces in England and Wales.
Unsurprisingly, the most common categories are things most likely to be nicked including bicycles, cameras, jewellery, tools and games consoles.
eBay stores – Some police forces have set up their own official eBay shops to sell recovered goods.
A number of forces including Cheshire Police, Nottingham Police, Leicester Police, Sussex Police, Thames Valley Police and Devon and Cornwall Police all boast these stores.
Auction houses – A number of forces use auction houses (which you can visit in person) to sell goods.
Most items sold are similar to those on Bumblebee and eBay, but you're also more likely to find larger items such as cars at auction houses.
To find an auction near you, look on the force’s website or search online (e.g. ‘police auction Sheffield’).