MORE than half a million pounds in cash has been seized in Merseyside.

Merseyside Police has taken part in Operation Henhouse, a month-long intensification period, tackling fraud, resulting in 10 arrests and suspected criminal cash totalling £548,887 seized.

Now in its third year, the annual national operation ran throughout February and is funded by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), allowing police forces nationwide to either scale up existing fraud investigations or dedicate extra resources for exploring new cases.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Dalton of Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime Team said: “Economic crime covers a wide range of offences involving money, finance or assets, and the offenders committing these offences range from the opportunist to organised crime gangs.

“With some of the more complex cases, we are seeing criminals become more convincing and finding new ways of using technology to defraud people. The impact on victims can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.

“Lots of people fall victim to fraud every day and often it’s the most vulnerable members of our communities that are targeted by criminals. This is why tackling fraud is a priority for us day in, day out, and Operation Henhouse is an opportunity for us to send a clear message to those who commit fraud. This deceitful and deplorable crime will not be tolerated – we will find you and we will work to put you before the courts.

“Our work to confiscate the proceeds of crime from offenders is not limited to those convicted of economic crime. We will go after the assets of any defendant that has been helping fill the coffers of organised crime.”

In Merseyside, this year’s Operation Henhouse has seen investigators outfox dozens of criminals with activity during February amounting to:

  • Ten arrests
  • 12 search warrants executed
  • Five Account Freezing Orders amounting to £287,733
  • £19,000 of assets forfeited
  • £548,887 of cash seized

During the same period, the government launched Stop! Think Fraud, a national campaign against fraud. The campaign draws on the expertise of leading counter-fraud experts and includes an online fraud hub to provide concise, easy-to-follow advice. It will also signpost victims to relevant organisations for further advice and support.

Detective Chief Inspector Dalton added: “The Stop! Think Fraud campaign aims to educate people and encourage them to take a moment to stop when they encounter potential fraud – taking a moment to think about the circumstances and look into it before making payments or providing personal details.

“In addition to us backing the campaign, we have also delivered cybercrime and fraud awareness inputs at community groups, schools, colleges and universities to help prevent people becoming a victim of fraud. Numerous safeguarding visits have also been completed to protect vulnerable elderly fraud victims.”

If you suspect you have been the victim of fraud, visit Action Fraud for advice at and report it online or by calling 0300 123 2040.