CROYDON Council has recovered £166,000 gained from rogue trader offences, in a landmark case.
The council conducted its first-ever cash forfeiture investigation into the activities of Patrick Delaney, 28.
Last September Delaney, of Bishopsford Road, Morden, was given a suspended prison sentence for trying to con an elderly Croydon woman out of £3,000 for work on her house.
An investigation was initially launched under the Proceeds of Crime Act into Delaney's assets, to establish what gains were made as a result of his criminal activity.
This led officers to a bank safety deposit box containing £166,000 in cash, mainly in £50 notes.
Three months later Delaney's cousin, Jeremiah Sheridan, came forward to say the cash was his.
Sheridan claimed the money was part of a personal injury payment awarded to him in 2002, following a car accident, which he said he had given to Delaney's father to look after.
Yet the council's case was that Sheridan, 28, had spent all his injury compensation money by 2003, and that some of the notes seized were printed years later, in 2008 and 2009.
Last Thursday, at Tower Bridge Magistrates' Court, a judge agreed that, on the balance of probabilities, the money was from criminal activity and that the cash should be forfeited.
The council will receive half of the money and the remainder will go to the Treasury.
Council deputy leader Dudley Mead said: "This is a landmark case for the council as it is Croydon's first cash forfeiture. Where money is thought to have been gained illegally, Croydon residents will expect nothing less than for the council to launch a thorough investigation to try and recover it.
"It is rare that these types of cases are carried out by local authorities, so it is a credit to our financial investigators for bringing this case to a conclusion."