A major campaign, by the charity Crimestoppers, is being launched across North West England today to help tackle money laundering. Serious and organised crime are making vast amounts of profits illegally resulting in those involved needing to ‘wash’ or ‘cleanse funds linked to crimes and once done this allows them to continue with their lavish lifestyles.
The key to making our communities safer places to live and work is to prevent criminals from cashing in on the pain and misery they cause. The campaign raises public awareness of the signs to spot around money laundering and asks people to speak up about what they know, 100% anonymously. Crimestoppers then pass on information to law enforcement so that action can be taken and that those involved face justice.
Money made from crime cannot be easily spent or invested without risking being caught or concerns being raised, so criminals often go to elaborate measures to launder their cash. The types of activities include dealing in drugs and counterfeit goods, human trafficking, modern slavery, selling weapons, sexual exploitation and other serious crimes.
It has become increasingly common for criminals to use more cash-prone businesses, such as pubs, food takeaways, minicab companies, haulage firms, nail bars, or car washes, as fronts. They can also use people by paying them as `money mules’ to transfer funds through their bank accounts or travel abroad with cash. Once ‘washed’, this money is then used to fund a lavish lifestyle in the UK or abroad.
Crimestoppers know how vital detailed anonymous community intelligence is in helping to tackle and break up serious and organised crime gangs. The charity has put together some examples to prompt the public and hopefully encourage them to report what they see or hear.
Signs to spot:
- A cash only businesses
- People regularly using Scottish or foreign currency notes
- Individuals predominantly high-value notes
- Businesses that regularly change their name, or type of business
- People with unidentified wealth or no legitimate income
- Regular travellers with no clear reason for doing so
- Loan sharks
- People who regularly purchase high-value/luxury items
- Those who use other people’s bank accounts to regularly move large amounts of money
- People who use others to hold and move money between accounts
- Those who store large amounts of cash or assets
Your information can help save lives and help make the North West safer for you and your family.
Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “Criminals like to perpetuate the myth that you shouldn’t `grass’. This allows them to inflict damage and suffering to people and our communities, whilst living off the profits of their crimes.
“Many people have suspicions about those who live a lavish lifestyle, but appear not to work or they work in a cash business with few customers, yet are still trading.
“I encourage anyone with information about those orchestrating or carrying out crime across the North West to contact our charity anonymously, either online or by phone. Our charity never asks for or stores the personal details of those who contact us.
“Every year across the North West, we receive over 35,000 pieces of actionable information; this leads to a significant number of arrests, millions of pounds worth of drugs seized, vulnerable adults and children safeguarded, and weapons being taken off our streets. We would like to thank those who have contacted us. We will never know who they are because of anonymity, but they have made our communities safer for everyone and made a real difference.”
To report crime 100% anonymously, visit our charity’s website Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in our simple and secure anonymous online form or call our 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111.
Please note: Computer IP addresses are never traced, and no-one will ever know you contacted us. For telephone calls, we have no caller line display, no 1471 facility and we have never traced a call.