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Highest bidder will land a drug traffickers' aeroplane


An aircraft used by an international drugs trafficking gang to fly cocaine with a street value of £1.7 million has been put on eBay by Leicestershire police.

The plane, which was listed with a reserve price of £12,000, is the latest unusual criminal asset to be auctioned off by the force.

As reported in the Mercury last month, a Second World War replica armoured car was sold for £5,205 on its online eBay store, which has generated about £684,000 through the sale of luxury cars, designer clothing, jewellery and other ill-gotten gains since it was launched three years ago.

The microlight aircraft was confiscated by officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit during an investigation into an organised crime gang. Class A drugs were driven from Amsterdam to France, where they were loaded on to the aircraft and flown into the UK.

Detective Inspector Greg Maides, senior investigating officer from the special operations unit, said: "When a case such as this results in convictions at court and considerable prison sentences for the defendants, we do not see that as the end of the matter.

"We have the powers to seize criminal assets to strip criminals of their possessions at every stage of the investigation.

"The fact this plane was used to commit crime by transporting drugs into the UK meant it could be forfeited under the misuse of drugs act.

"The money made from the sale of those assets can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from law enforcement work to community projects.

"It is relatively common to confiscate a criminal's car, but it's not often we make an application to seize a plane so we can't really predict how the bidding is likely to go.

"That said, whoever does buy it will do so knowing their money is being put to good use and they have helped deprive these offenders of a valuable asset."

The plane, which was flown into Northamptonshire, was seized by Northamptonshire Police under the misuse of drugs act. Leicestershire Police sell items for other forces through their eBay site.

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds said: "I believe this may be the first time a force in the country has seized an aeroplane and is in a position to sell it, so this is a great result for us."

All six men involved in the trafficking pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Class A drugs and have been jailed.

The plane can be viewed at:

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/ Leicester-Police-POCA-Property

Highest bidder will land a drug  traffickers' aeroplane

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