Ill-gotten gains turned into humanitarian aid

By staff writers
23 Mar 2007
Left to right: Ross Galbraith (Glasgow the Caring City) Superintendant Nigel Hibbert, WPC Lisa Harley, Alex Haxton (WEF)

Police from West Yorkshire have transformed thousands of pounds of local criminals’ ill-gotten gains into humanitarian aid to help fight poverty in developing countries.

More than £10,000 worth of goods recovered from criminal activities in the Huddersfield area is to be shipped out to aid projects in Lebanon and Romania before the end of March. The goods were donated to Christian charity World Emergency Relief (WER) by the Kirklees division (Huddersfield) of West Yorkshire Police.

The items were recovered after being stolen from various shops in the local area, and include pharmaceuticals, toiletries and other household and food items. Rather than destroy the goods or send some of them to auction, WPC Lisa Harley contacted WER to see if they would be of value to the charity in its development work abroad.

“It is wonderful that Lisa and the division thought of the needy overseas, whilst still carrying out their challenging duties here in the UK,” says Alex Haxton, director of operations at WER. “These goods will make a huge difference to the lives of people living in poverty and crisis in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, where something as simple as paracetamol to relieve a fever, or a bar of soap to wash with can be unobtainable for all sorts of reasons.

“Many of the projects we support help break the cycle of poverty and crime by ensuring children have access to education, skills training and health services. So through their thought and generosity the police at Kirklees division are helping prevent crime abroad as well as here, which I hope makes them feel good.”

According to WPC Lisa Harley of West Yorkshire Police, the force doesn’t like seeing goods go to waste. “To know that so many people will benefit is really exciting, especially from the pharmaceuticals which would normally be destroyed,” says WPC Harley. “This donation and the partnership with WER also enables West Yorkshire Police to meet the diversity targets set by our Police authority. So it’s a real win-win situation, and we’ll certainly channel recovered goods through WER again.”

The goods donated by West Yorkshire Police are currently being sorted by WER and its associate charity Glasgow the Caring City (GtCC). They will be included in shipments of humanitarian aid before the end of March. So far in 2007, the WER and GtCC have together shipped 20 containers totalling around 100 tonnes of humanitarian aid to developing countries.

WPC Harley initially contacted a local pharmaceutical company which put her in touch with Morningside Pharmaceuticals in Loughborough, which regularly donates medicines and medical supplies to developing countries via WER and GtCC. Morningside Pharmaceuticals were able to recommend the charities as a destination for the recovered goods.

Needless to say WER is very keen to hear from other police forces which might otherwise destroy goods recovered from criminal activities. The charity can be contacted direct on 0870 429 2129 or by emailing info@wer-uk.org

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