Community groups in Ashington, Blyth, Berwick, and Newbiggin get share of cash seized from criminals by PCC's project

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Sports clubs, youth projects, and community organisations in Northumberland are among the latest beneficiaries of money seized from criminals by Northumbria Police.

Over £160,000 has been redistributed across the North East in the fifth round of Operation Payback, a scheme run by the force area’s Police and Crime Commissioner to redistribute money made illegally to worthy causes.

Blyton Rugby Club and Newbiggin Juniors Football Club both received money to buy new kit, while Ashington Rugby Cricket Club was awarded £5,000 to improve its facilities.

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Silx Teen Bar Youth Project received a £5,000 contribution to fund its youth workers, while Cowpen Quay Community Association received £5,000 of its own to fund the Buffalo Community Centre's youth projects.

The scheme is run by Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness. (Photo by archive)The scheme is run by Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness. (Photo by archive)
The scheme is run by Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness. (Photo by archive)

Ashington Miners Amateur Boxing Club received almost as much to help equip its new gym.

Border Links was awarded £1,000 to provide monthly discos to adults with learning difficulties in Berwick-upon-Tweed, and the Northern Lights support group for children with special needs received the same.

Spital Estate Community Association has received £1,000 towards repairing the CCTV and alarm system on its Newbiggin premises, and Belford Court retirement home in Blyth has had another £1,000 contributed to its Bright Sparks weekly activities and workshops project.

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Dozens of groups across the force area received grants as well, as did The Prince’s Trust and Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “There is no better use for cash seized from crime than channelling it right back into our communities, particularly areas that need it most or where we are wanting to clampdown on things like anti-social behaviour.

“It is about presenting kids with the chance to do things they want to do, keeping them entertained, or even making sure they are fed and feel supported in life.

“There are a lot of cash strapped organisations out there and Operation Payback is stripping cash out of the hands of criminals and handing it over to so many grass root cases that matter.

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“It is thanks to some great police work that I am in the position to do this.”

150 years of jail terms have been handed down and £1.4m has been obtained by confiscation orders as a result of Northumbria Police investigations in the last six months, helping to fund these grants.