A police force achieved its highest ever confiscation orders haul of more than £7.6 million against five fraudsters.

The Sussex Police orders were made when a series of confiscation hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) concluded at Hove Crown Court on Wednesday.

Judge David Rennie has made confiscation orders totalling £7,604,749.90 against five convicted defendants, three from Operation Zeta - John McCracken from Brighton, Matthew Thole from Cardiff, and John Brice from Hove - and two from Operation Cantonese - twins Paul and Gregory Spicer both from Hove - who were all subjects of the hearings.

All five men had jailed at trials in 2010 and 2013 after investigations into linked horse race betting brochure fraud.

Paul Spicer received seven years, Gregory Spicer seven years, John Brice five years, Matthew Thole four years and John McCracken four years.

Out of the confiscated monies the judge ordered £132,286 in compensation to be paid to the individual victims who assisted the prosecution.

Detective Inspector Mick Richards said: "These are the biggest POCA confiscation orders in terms of value ever achieved by Sussex Police.

"After payment of the compensation to the victims, half of the confiscated money goes to the central government exchequer, the remaining 50 per cent comes back to law enforcement and is shared between the courts, the prosecution authority and the investigating agencies.

"The confiscated money given back to Sussex Police is used to help support the work of the force's financial investigators, and as donations to local Sussex-based crime reduction and diversion projects."

Paul Spicer was assessed by the court as having a criminal benefit of £9,994,566.26 and a confiscation order of £3,050,000 was made.

Gregory Spicer's criminal benefit was assessed as £11,304,519.61 - a confiscation order of £3,050,000 was made.

Thole's criminal benefit was £2,742,536.92 - a confiscation order of £850,000 was made.

Brice's criminal benefit was assessed as £3,231,564.80 - a confiscation order of £414,000 was made.

McCracken's criminal benefit was assessed as £3,090,970.72 - a confiscation order for £240,749.90 was made.

Failure to pay will result in extended sentences for the five.