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

The 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, 48, formerly of Whitehawk Road, Brighton, Matthew Thole, 41, formerly of Cefn Mably Park, Cardiff, and John Brice, 41, formerly of Sandingham Drive, Hove, and two from Operation Cantonese - twins Paul and Gregory Spicer, 38, both from Hove - who were all subjects of the hearings.

All five men had been 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 money 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, formerly of Dyke Road, Hove, 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.

The criminal benefit of Gregory Spicer, formerly of The Drove, Hove, was assessed as £11,304,519.61 and a confiscation order of £3,050,000 was made.

Thole's criminal benefit was £2,742,536.92 and a confiscation order of £850,000 was made. Brice's criminal benefit was assessed as £3,231,564.80 and a confiscation order of £414,000 was made. McCracken's criminal benefit was assessed as £3,090,970.72 and a confiscation order for £240,749.90 was made.

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

Major win for Sussex Police

The size of the confiscation orders is put into perspective after it emerged Sussex Police seized more than £1.4m from criminals in Sussex in the financial year 2013/2014.

The force successfully applied to courts for 109 confiscation orders following criminal convictions, valued at £1,492,750. 
The force also obtained 28 civil forfeiture orders valued at £138,482, following cash seizures from suspected offenders and a further £17,277 in other forfeitures.