Leicestershire Police has generated £1 million in online sales of goods seized from crooks.
It set up its eBay site in September 2009, specialising in goods recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The most popular items have been luxury cars and high class watches. An Aston Martin DB9 car went for £63,000, and a Rolex brought in more than £13,000. Designer clothes and jewellery have also proved popular, along with electrical goods and computers.
The items have usually been obtained by criminals through legitimate channels, but have been paid for out of the profits of drug-dealing, fraud, or other cash-generating offences.
The more unusual items have included a replica of a German armoured car, skateboards, collections of comics, and A microlite aircraft.
It currently has a jet ski and trailer listed on its ebay account, as well as an assortment of clothes and trainers and more bizzarely a large amount of embroidery yarn and thread.
The force also uses other specialist methods of disposing of goods and property where these are deemed more appropriate than the online site. These include estate agencies and traditional auctions.
Paul Wenlock, the head of Leicestershire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “Leicestershire Police was the first force in the country to set up its own eBay shop, and it has been a huge success.
“We have generated possibly twice as much from these sales than if we had sent the same items to auction.
“The site is also a daily reminder that we will take civil as well as criminal action to ensure criminals do not benefit from their crimes. In some cases we have been able to seize goods and sell them where we have not managed to secure a criminal conviction.
“All the money that the site generates goes back to fund crime-fighting work.
“Often the enquiry starts from information from members of the public. If you know anyone who appears to be living a lifestyle beyond their visible means, we would like to know. They may be living on the proceeds of burglary, money-laundering, fraud or drug dealing. We can take both civil and criminal action to be sure they do not benefit from these activities.
“You can call Leicestershire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
To view items on the site, visit http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Leicester-Police-POCA-Property