HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds have been seized by police from criminals in Sunderland.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 allows police to recover cash from crooks who have benefited financially through crime.
Police have used the act over the last year to seize cash from offenders across Wearside.
Convicted drug dealer Brian Ferguson is one of the crooks to cough up cash for his wrongdoings.
Ferguson lived a life of luxury from his drug-dealing empire which he used to build a “manor house” at The Fold, near Doxford Park.
Ferguson, 47, was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to drugs conspiracy charges relating to his part in a £5million plot.
The drugs baron was ordered to pay back £441,915.56 in a court ruling in August this year.
Ferguson’s properties were confiscated to be sold and thousands of pounds-worth of jewellery was also seized.
Another criminal to have his ill-gotten gains seized is drug-dealing grandad William Ryan.
Ryan, 63, was locked up in June after officers discovered cocaine worth £9,200 in his Thorney Close home.
He admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply and possession of cannabis and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
A confiscation order means Ryan of Toronto Road, must pay back £5,132 made from his drug deals.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim McAll said: “Northumbria Police continues to target criminals with cash forfeitures and confiscation orders to ensure the money and assets they have gained through criminal activities are paid back.
“The Proceeds of Crime Act allows police to recover cash and assets from criminals and we want to send a clear message to anyone involved in criminal activity that we are watching and we will take action.”
Drug dealer Mark Norman Redman, 30, from Lodore Court, Doxford Park, was given a suspended 12-month prison sentence and 200 hours of unpaid work in November last year after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class B drug.
After an investigation into his finances, Redman was ordered to pay back £945.
Businesswoman Dawn Spurs, 30, from Harwood Drive, Houghton, was spared jail in connection with £500,000 mortgage fraud, receiving a 51-week suspended sentence after admitting obtaining five Wearside properties by lying on application forms to lenders.
Spurs was ordered to pay back more than £110,000.