The organisation set up to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains has had a workload almost three times bigger than expected in its first year, its annual report revealed yesterday.

Police and other law enforcement bodies have given the Assets Recovery Agency 142 cases since its launch in February 2003. Its original target was 50. The ARA, aided by the Proceeds of Crime Act, froze £14.8m in assets in its first 12 months, well ahead of its £10m target.

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