It ain\’t yours any more, Bupkiss

No, no, nothing belongs to you. It all belongs to the State, you are only allowed to have what you can prove the State should allow you to keep:

A man lost £67,000 in cash found at his home after being unable to explain how he came by it.

Police seized the cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act even though the unnamed man was never charged with a criminal offence.

Officers were called to an address in Port Talbot, south Wales, after reports of an attempted burglary at the property.

While making inquiries at the address, which is in the town\’s Sandfields area, they discovered the cash, South Wales Police said.

From the PA news feed.

33 comments on “It ain\’t yours any more, Bupkiss

  1. “Sounds like money from cash in hand jobs- no income tax, no vat etc.”

    Obviously that’s the only explanation for having cash in your house. Clown.

  2. wouldn’t help. where I come from if you find cash you are legally required to hand it in (otherwise it’s theft); you do get to keep it if no-one claims it within a specified time.

  3. The only thing you should tell them is to go fuck themselves and if they’ve got a problem with you hoarding bank notes in your house then they should get off their arses, do some policing and find out if it is dodgy money. Of course that would assume we lived in a free country.

  4. surprised if he was smart enough to get the money he wasn’t smart enough to think up any excuse. How about the horses?

  5. surprised if he was smart enough to get the money he wasn’t smart enough to think up any excuse.

    He’s dumb enough to live in Port Talbot.

  6. So someone tried to burgle his house and failed.
    Then the police burgled his house.
    Marvellous.

  7. This won’t happen to me, as I can explain all the capital I have.
    I concede that ‘it won’t happen to me’ is not a satisfactory argument, but I also know that there exists in this country a class of people which commits acquisitive crime and which is extremely difficult to convict.
    Imagine, for instance, a man who makes a substantial living stealing the life savings of 90-year-old women.
    (They can make hundreds of thousands of pounds a year doing this.)
    It is often not possible to convict these men – not least because the elderly victims are unwilling (through fear) to attend court, and are easily presented in court as unreliable witnesses (poor eyesight, age-related confusion and so on).
    Given that these crimes are committed (I’m not dreaming it) and that the criminals are going unconvicted from reasons often outwith the control of the police, it seems to me not unreasonable that when the police find a person in possession of a large amount of cash they ask him how he came by it.
    It’s not a particularly onerous request, requiring of an enormous amount of thought, or expensive in and of itself, after all.
    If you didn’t get it by stealing it, just tell them where you did get it. How bad can that be?
    Not perfect, I accept, but then life isn’t.
    Personally, to take a different example, I would rather that unemployed and disaffected young men who are somehow funding travel to areas where – say – bombmaking techniques are taught should have to account for their funds, too.

  8. Sorry – I meant to add:

    The other criteria by which I judge my own response to this sort of thing is, would I mind if the police asked this question of me?
    The answer is, no, I wouldn’t.
    Yes, it might be inconvenient, but only mildly so – and lots of inconvenient things are far better than the harms which they attempt to prevent.

  9. Dan, you must be mad, bad or naive. Not for what you believe about people swindling old ladies, but for suggesting that anyone should have to justify having cash in the house to Police in the absence of criminal charges being laid.

    It’s bad enough that if you tried to pay it into your bank there’d a be a money laundering suspicion report filed (or questions asked as to why not) but the for Police to be able to waltz into your house and seize cash is a travesty.

  10. Better one conman goes free than ten innocent people who prefer cash to bank accounts be unjustly robbed of their savings.

  11. I don’t think it’s me who is naiive, Formertory.
    Neither do I believe it’s an ideal state of affairs – merely that it’s (much) the lesser of two evils.

    Let’s take terrorists: assuming that you accept that they exist, and that they fund their ends through crime, and that in some cases they are impossible to pursue in the criminal courts, would you seriously prefer that they were allowed to retain their funds (and spend them on training and weapons) than have to explain how they came by them, and forefeit them if they could – or would – not?

    This seems to me to be utter nonsense – the elevation of a sensible and desirable general principle (the absence as far as possible of State involvement in our affairs) – to the status in all and particular cases of some sort of inviolable holy writ.

    What if these theoretical terrorists had £1 million in cash and were planning to spend it on a nuclear device? Would you accept then that it might be acceptable to ask the question and demand and answer? Would your views change if 250,00 people were immolated by such a device in London?

    If the requirements of the State were enormously onerous or illogical I might come closer to agreeing with you, but I do not find the prospect of being asked the question, ‘Can you tell us where you got this £67,000 from, sir?’ particularly terrifying.

    My answer would be: ‘I earned it at work’, and they would leave me alone.

    (Of course, the existence of checks and balances and the assumption that they would leave me alone are taken as read – nothing in the piece linked to suggests they should not be.)

  12. Gareth, with respect, that’s an entirely illogical position to adopt.

    For it to make any sense, we would have to accept that the man in question was a perfectly honest person who just happened to ‘prefer cash to bank accounts’ and was ‘unjustly robbed of his savings’ as a direct result of that.

    If he had the money in cash merely because he preferred cash to banks, all he needed to say was: ‘I have the money in cash merely because I prefer cash to banks. I earned it at work (or won it on the horses, or whatever) and here’s the paperwork to prove it – now clear off.’

    He obviously did not say any of this.

    Indeed, I would suggest he was represented legally (at our expense), and that his lawyer did not advise him to say any of that either.

    This would be because it wasn’t true and suich claims would have landed him in trouble, the effects of which he valued more highly than £67,000.

    This money was not ‘savings’, and he was not ‘innocent’.

  13. “My answer would be: ‘I earned it at work’, and they would leave me alone.”

    Um…a wee bit optimistic, that. I get the feeling they’ll want more than that. Would you settle for that if you had the chance of grabbing £67,000?

  14. I would be really interested in how it was that the police-supposedly investigating an attempted burglary-became aware of or “discovered” the cash. Can the police search one’s home under those conditions? Was the cash in open view?

  15. Yes, that’s right, Rob. It’s happening all the time. The cops just take money off random people and spend it on Christmas parties at the nick.
    A bloke in my street had £200 grand taken last week and the week before that they had fifty grand off my dad.
    What colour is the sky in your world? Purple?

  16. Dan,

    Here’s to my mind, two reasonable approximations of two societies.

    1) It’s mine and you Government bastards have to prove that it isn’t.

    2) It’s the government’s and you have to prove, you bastards, that it is yours.

    I submit that the former is one that offers greater liberty from government than the latter. Greater liberty overall.

    I also prefer the first as a vision of society. Indeed, that’s the society that our forefathers shed blood to create, that Common Law society where the government was held to the same standards of proof as anyone else who wanted to take our possessions.

    I am a self described liberal because I care about liberty. What do you describe yourself as?

  17. I’m a realist, Tim.

    I don’t like paying tax that gets wasted, or informing government apparatchiks of my race and sexuality on pointless forms, or watching yet more real civil liberties disappear while bogus human rights replace them. I hate the overpowerful State, the unproductive (and counter productive) public sector, the EU, the Quangoes, the fake charities, many of the laws, state education (more grammars or Swedish schools, please), the NHS (health insurance) and police who police rather than socially engineer. I would reduce tax on earnings under (say) 12k pa to zero (I’d also abolish the minimum wage, tax credits and do something about benefits. The workhouse or food stamps sound attractive.)

    So I am no bleeding heart.

    However, I do believe there ARE some things, a small number, the State does better – does anyone want a privatised Army, for instance? – so I don’t object to paying some tax to fund these ends.

    Of the two positions you suggest I prefer the first. I just don’t believe in it as a golden, inviolable rule.

    You are, I assume, prepared to pay some tax (though like me you believe the Government wastes huge amounts of that which it currently levies)?

    As part of that tax system, we all have to declare – and be prepared to prove if required – how our income was generated. I doubt that you would suggest that the State should have to prove the origins of all income declared on all tax returns (or even a dip test percentage of them)? If you do, how do you propose these investigations be funded? The cost would be literally enormous and would only grow the State and its power.

    I assume you also have no issue with proving your right to – say – drive a car? You have to pass a test, MOT your vehicle, and then be able to produce a licence if necessary. Do you believe that these are overly onerous requirement by these ‘bastards’ of drivers involved in accidents?

    In the question of whether you are licensed to drive, what is quicker, cheaper and easier: constant recourse to the bureaucrats in Swansea to see if you have such a licence, or the request that you should produce it in specific cases if asked?

    Do you regard the requirement to MOT your vehicle as representing an infringement of your liberty? If so, what would you expect to happen if your vehicle were hit by a man driving a 20-year-old car with no working brakes (which would have failed the MOT system you do not approve of)? Would you prefer that the MOT system was abolished in favour of testing every vehicle involved in an accident by some independent panel of experts? How much would this cost? Would it be in any way practical?

    Equally, do you suggest we should have a world without passports? Why should you have to prove to the bastards who you are on entering this country, after all? Is it not for them to prove your identity?

    None of this is to claim that the revenue, driver licensing or passport systems are perfect – clearly they are not…

  18. …The point I’m making is that there are lots of occasions (though too many) where we – at least, most of us – don’t have too much difficulty in assisting the legitimate organs of the State in making life a little easier for us.

    The same is true of this guy and his £67,000. It is not as though he had no recourse (unless you really believe that the police do just waltz in to houses and take people’s money, willy-nilly). It is very hard to obtain confiscation orders. The man in question could have had free legal representation (and I’ll bet he did). He could have explained where the money came from. It would have been returned to him. I strongly suspect that he chose not to explain its origins because it was either criminal in nature or he had earned it through cash in hand work.

    I suspect it’s the former – hence the police interest in pursuing him – and if he stole or extorted it, I’m glad he’s lost it.

    If it was from ‘cash jobs’, then – and I accept the hypocrisy inherent in this, because I do want a tax-funded Army to protect me and my country – I don’t blame him. Most people have done cash jobs at some time or other (though £67k is a lot of cash jobs). But then, I don’t blame the State either, because it has to pay those soldiers.

    By the way, no-one – including you – has addressed the question of how we deal with those who steal from old ladies or plot to destroy London. This is not theoretical. It is happening now, as I write. If the cops can get in amongst those sorts of people and make life hard for them, within strict parameters, more power to their collective elbow.

    (Apologies for length – had to split in two so your comments system would take my prolixity!)

  19. “I’m a realist, Tim.”

    No Dan you’re a fucking cunt. Just the sort of fucking twat that has allowed this government of all the talents to take away SO MANY OF OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES.

    JUST FUCK OFF AND DIE, PAINFULLY, YOU SODDING ARSE WAFT.

    As has been clearly stated already, IT IS BETTER THAT ONE HUNDRED MURDERERS/TERRORISTS GET AWAY THAN ONE INNOCENT MAN IS LOCKED UP.

    And I’m sorry as you disagree with this fundamentel tennet of decency you confirm my initial assumption that you are a cunt of the highest order. Go die.

  20. Weird. If you read the first few lines I wrote, I’d say I made it pretty clear – even for the hard of thinking such as yourself, Zorro – that I don’t support this government or much that they’ve done.

    And I don’t remember suggesting that any number of guilty people should ‘get away’ rather than any innocent people should be ‘locked up’.

    We were talking about criminals who can’t explain how they came by their cash. If they can – ie, if they’re ‘innocent’ – their cash stays with them. It’s really not that difficult.

    But to deal with your argument re guilty terrorists – just because I like you – how about if the 100 guilty terrorists then each kill 50 people?

    Now you have 5,000 dead people instead of one innocent locked up.

    Are you OK with that?

    What about if they kill five million?

    Fifty million?

    What about if the entire human race winds up dead to avoid one person being wrongly locked up? Would you be happy with that? (Would he? Who’s going to feed him, or let him out?)

    If not, where – precisely – between where we are today and the entire human race dying, would you draw the line and say, ‘Actually, I know I said that stuff about innocent men being jailed but actually it is occasionally worth innocent men being jailed.’

    I’m not saying it’s desirable – heaven knows, I didn’t even raise the jailing of the innocents.

    I’m just engaging you on your own, slightly moronic, terms.

    The problem with people like you – if I may – can be expressed in two words: no logic.

    You think – erroneously, I’m afraid – that all human life and its infinite variety can be reduced to one tiny, unbreakable rule which you can fit on the back of a postage stamp which is capable of being inserted into a thimble and jammed up your arse.

    It can’t.

  21. We don’t know enough about the case to comment really (but when did that ever stop anyone!).

    If the bloke had a job, was 40-ish, it is quite possible to have saved 67K out of his work earnings over potentially 25+ working years. And done so in cash.

    Whereas if he was 20, had never had a job, then having 67k in cash is a bit suspicious, and if legitimately obtained, should be easily proved. Inheritance, gift, lottery, gambling, business deal, all leave a papertrail.

    The suspicion is that if he couldn’t show how he came by it, it must be illegal. That said I don’t like the removal of the presumption of innocence either. Ultimately I think I come down on the side of civil liberties. I think it should be up to the Authorities to prove it was from illegal activities, not him to prove his innocence.

  22. “…it is quite possible to have saved 67K out of his work earnings over potentially 25+ working years. And done so in cash. ”

    Er, quite possible, Jim, but pretty fucking unlikely!

    “I think it should be up to the Authorities to prove it was from illegal activities, not him to prove his innocence.”

    Right. So if it was from illegal activities, how do they prove it? Since it’s an impossibility – one assumes that if they had that info they’d use it – what you’re really saying is pikeys who rob old ladies can keep the money as long as they make it back to the caravan without anyone seeing them. All hail the brave new liberalism!

    All he had to do was say how he came by it. ‘I saved it by working hard over 25+ years’ would have done the trick.

  23. Just because activities are illegal doesn’t make them unprovable. Otherwise all criminals would escape prosecution!

    If there is no EVIDENCE that this money was obtained illegally, or even circumstantial evidence, ie he had never been a convicted drug dealer, for example, or fenced goods, or house burglary, then he should keep the money. Burden of proof on the State not the individual.

    Also it is very easy to save £2.5k a year for 25 years if you are frugal. I don’t smoke or drink. I have no kids or wife. I reckon I have saved that amount ever year for the last 10-15 years.

  24. “Just because activities are illegal doesn’t make them unprovable. Otherwise all criminals would escape prosecution!”

    Appreciate that Jim – I’m talking about unprovable illegality (into which this obviously falls), not illegality that is otherwise provable.

    “If there is no EVIDENCE that this money was obtained illegally, or even circumstantial evidence, ie he had never been a convicted drug dealer, for example, or fenced goods, or house burglary, then he should keep the money.”

    OK, so you’re saying anyone with a record can’t keep the dough? I prefer, anyone who can’t or won’t explain it can’t keep it – and I can’t see a lot of liberal clear blue water between your position and mine!

  25. Unprovable illegality is not illegality! Thats what innocent until proven guilty means! If the State cannot prove that this guy has done something illegal, then he hasn’t, and shouldn’t have his dosh taken away from him. Simple as that.

    And no, I’m not saying anyone with a record should have their cash taken from them, merely that a convicted drug dealer will have to answer more questions as to the source of his cash than someone with no convictions. If you have been proved to have been a criminal, I think it is reasonable for the State to attempt to confiscate the proceeds of that crime.

  26. Jim

    “Unprovable illegality is not illegality!”

    Yes it is, it’s just illegality that’s unprovable. If someone steals from an old lady and it can’t be proven, that doesn’t magically mean it didn’t happen.

    “If the State cannot prove that this guy has done something illegal, then he hasn’t”

    This is another piece of illogic. All that it means if the State can’t prove it is the State can’t prove it – it doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.

    The fact is, contrary to the general thrust of Tim’s comment (and many replies), if you are arrested for a criminal offence you do have to prove certain things.
    ‘Where were you on the night of the murder?’
    ‘Sorry, I’m not saying. You prove I was there, coppers.’
    Try that one next time you’re up before the beak!
    All that this money seizure does is to reflect the realities of life, as opposed to the way people would like them to be.
    The only way – to keep the old lady analogy going – that the police could actually catch every thief who0 robs an old lady is to have cops on every corner. I don’t want that, but I don’t want old ladies robbed with impunity either.

    As to your second paragraph, that’s far more illiberal than money seizure. Whatever happened to the slate being cleaned?

  27. There is the ‘actual truth’ ie what happened in any given event, and the ‘legal truth’ ie what can be proved to have happened. In criminal terms we deal with ‘legal truth’ because that is the only way of deciding fairly who has committed what crimes and whether they should be punished or not.

    Once you start saying ‘You prove you didnt mug this old lady becasue we think you did’ you are on a very steep slippery slope to a Totalitarian Police State.

    Imagine you’re sat at home and the Police turn up and say ‘We reckon you did crime X and you have to prove you didn’t, or we are going to bang you up and take all your assets’. And it so happens for whatever reason you have no alibi, and COULD have done the crime. Fancy that situation?

  28. @ Dan “Yes it is, it’s just illegality that’s unprovable. If someone steals from an old lady and it can’t be proven, that doesn’t magically mean it didn’t happen.”

    If a crime occurs, but the perpetrator is unknown, then any given person is innocent of that crime unless proven in a court of law. The crime still happened of course, but no one can be shown to be responsible. So no one can be punished for what cannot be proved. That is the basis of our criminal law for hundreds of years. I don’t want to change that now.

  29. @Jim: “Imagine you’re sat at home and the Police turn up and say ‘We reckon you did crime X and you have to prove you didn’t, or we are going to bang you up and take all your assets’.”

    Well, that’s exactly what happens in reality every time someone is arrested.
    You are allowed to say nothing and invite the Crown to prove their case, but juries are allowed to draw an inference from that and I cannot conceive of any reason why an innocent person would not seek actively to prove his innocence, rather than simply relying on the Crown to fail to prove his guilt.

    No different at all to money-grabbing: they ask you where you got it, you say you earned it and hear are a few invoices or witnesses.

    Inconvenient, yes. Impossible, no – unless you actually got it by robbing elderly ladies (or whatever).

  30. The “right to silence” was enshrined in the Common Law until very recently and should be put back. I believe that it is in the Bill of
    Rights, a Constitutional Document. And yes, all are innocent until proven guilty, that is the basis of our civilisation. Looking around recently it seems that many people are being arrested but then released as I assume the police cannot find any evidence, ie none is offered.

    Derek

  31. I’m not saying there’s no right to silence, FFS, only that you would have to be a complete idiot, if innocent, to invoke it.

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