CAB join with UK cops to seize land in Co Armagh land in €115k crime cash probe

The order will prevent anyone from selling or transferring ownership of the land while the investigation continues

The NCA led the investigation

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized a plot of land in Co Armagh that they suspect was purchased with money obtained from fraud and money laundering offences.

Agency officers have obtained a Property Freezing Order for the site, in Blackwatertown, as part of an ongoing civil recovery investigation involving the gardai, PSNI, the Revenue Commissioners, HM Revenue and Customs and Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

The order was granted to the NCA at Belfast High Court on Monday as it is suspected the land was purchased for £100,000 in criminal cash.

The order will prevent anyone from selling or transferring ownership of the land while the investigation continues into the source of the funds used to make the purchase.

If unlawful conduct is found, the NCA may seek the recovery of the land.

NCA regional head of asset denial Rob Burgess said: “The NCA works to tackle organised crime gangs at all levels in order to frustrate, disrupt and ultimately dismantle them.

“Our civil recovery powers play an integral role and we are committed to working closely alongside partners in the Joint Agency Task Force to prevent those engaged in criminal activity from benefitting financially from their illegal actions.

“We will continue to use these powers to pursue the assets of criminals, no matter how carefully they have been hidden.”

Detective Superintendent Emma Neil, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Organised Crime Branch, added: “Working with our partner agencies, we are committed to tackling and disrupting the activities of organised crime groups.

“These groups use whatever means possible – from drug dealing to money laundering – to line their own pockets and, sadly, it’s often at the expense of the most vulnerable members of our society.

“This is an excellent example of working in partnership. We’re also grateful for the support of local people, and would appeal to anyone with information, or concerns, to contact us on 101.”

The Joint Agency Task Force is led by police and revenue services and brings together the relevant law enforcement agencies to better co-ordinate strategic and operational actions against cross-border organised crime.

It involves senior officers from An Garda Siochana, PSNI, the Revenue Commissioners and HM Revenue and Customs.

It also includes the Criminal Assets Bureau and the National Crime Agency (who have the primary roles in criminal assets recovery), as well as other law enforcement partners such as environmental protection agencies and immigration services.

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