An airline passenger who claimed he had “nothing to declare” was found to have £180,000 worth of gold.
The 50-year-old man landed from Dubai with more than three kilos of gold jewellery in his bags.
But he went through the “Nothing to declare” door at Gatwick, where he was stopped by Border Force officers.
They discovered plastic bags full of gold necklaces, cufflinks and bracelets.
Initially, the man claimed the jewellery was for “guests to wear at a wedding”.
He also understated its value and weight.
But officers from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit believed the gold was linked to crime and confiscated it under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
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Horsham Magistrates in West Sussex have now granted authorities a forfeiture order to keep the valuables after they applied following “inconsistencies” in the man’s account.
Senior Financial Investigator David Chave, at the Crime Unit, said: “Recent amendments to legislation allows for the seizure and subsequent forfeiture of certain items, including precious metals, where we can satisfy the court they may derive from criminality or are intended for use in crime.
“This allows us to remove the benefit from crime and disrupts criminals, affecting their ability to function as effectively, and is an important tool for law enforcement in the fight against organised crime.”
He added: “The forfeiture was a result of our partnership working with Border Force and the dedicated work from our team, who worked diligently to investigate the provenance of these items.”
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