Money confiscated from two men who ran an illegal airport parking business in Copthorne is now helping to crack crime.
Back in August 2015 Imran Shahid and Tariq Wasi pleaded guilty to converting greenfield land in Copthorne into an illegal airport car park.
The men failed to obtain planning permission for the operation and ignored a Stop Notice when the Mid Sussex District Council Planning Enforcement team instructed them to cease trading.
The council said the pair profited “by disregarding planning regulations that are in place to protect the local environment.”
As a result, the council obtained a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act and the two men accepted that they had benefitted to the tune of £34,578 by ignoring the Stop Notice and trading for a further 11 days.
A Crown Court Judge ordered that the full amount be confiscated.
Mid Sussex District Council has now received £8,513.98 from the Home Office as its share of the proceeds under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme.
The money is being used to set up a fund for projects that reduce crime, or the fear of crime, in Mid Sussex. This might include introducing security lighting in poorly lit areas, replacing protective fencing or cutting back hedges to make an area more open.
The council has already used some of the money to buy six battery operated CCTV cameras to help local families that are suffering with anti-social behaviour in their communities.
“The cameras gather vital evidence for Sussex Police and are proven to reduce crime and reassure local people,” said a police spokesman.
A donation has also been made to West Sussex Mediation Service, a local charity that helps people to resolve a range of disputes, including those between neighbours. .
Councillor Norman Webster, cabinet member for community said: “It’s fantastic to see this money being put to good use, helping to prevent crime instead of lining the pockets of criminals.
“We want everyone to feel safe and secure in Mid Sussex and this funding will help us to create stronger, safer communities for everyone.”