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Seized sports car bids accelerate up to £64k

It started with a cheeky bid of 99p – but just a few hours later people were offering more than £60,000 for a car which until recently belonged to a convicted criminal.

The £95,000 Audi R8 two-seater sports car, which police seized from its owner earlier this year, is being sold on eBay.

The online auction opened early yesterday and will continue until next Friday.

The optimistic 99p bid was lodged as soon as proceedings opened. However, within an hour the serious bidders had entered the race and by 9am the highest bid stood at £40,000. By early evening yesterday it had gone beyond £64,000. It now stands at £726000

The car was on display throughout the day in the Highcross, in Leicester.

Police said it was a symbol of their power to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

They are encouraging people to contact them if they believe they know people, such as the warehouse worker who owned the Audi, who are living well beyond their means.

Brad Thompson, a 23-year-old estate agent from Loughborough, inspected the sleek car during its 12-hour stay in the shopping centre.

He said: "I like what the police are doing here. It was obviously bought with the wrong kind of money but it's being sold for the benefit of the public."

Retired engineer David Hardy, 71, of Syston, said: "I like the idea that people who commit crimes should have their assets taken from them like this because we should be doing everything we can to make sure crime does not pay."

Leicestershire is the only British police force to operate an eBay "shop" to sell valuables seized from convicted criminals. In the three years since it opened, it has sold more than 1,000 items such as cars, jewellery, computers and clothing, generating about £600,000. Half the proceeds of sales are divided between the force, the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service in Leicestershire. The remainder is paid to central government, which distributes some of the money to good causes.

Detective Inspector Paul Wenlock, of the force's economic crime unit, said he was "delighted" with level of interest.

He said: "We really didn't expect it to attract so many bids so early on, so we're delighted."

The 2010 car belonged to 46-year-old Sapcote man Rubin Maxwell. Leicester Crown Court heard in June that Maxwell could provide no evidence of how he had paid for it and other luxury items.

As a result, the court confiscated the car and a further £30,000-plus in cash and assets.

He pleaded guilty to the offence of converting criminal property and his assets, including the car, were confiscated.