More than £1bn has been recovered from fraudsters since HMRC formed it specialist scam squad five years ago.
The figure is enough to fund around 20,000 NHS nurses for a year, HMRC revealed today.
It comes after a string of investigations have led to over 1,200 seizures of cash and assets – sometimes hidden in the most obscure of locations.
Since its creation in 2016, the Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) has recovered £750,000 worth of gold bars found on a passenger going through Manchester Airport.
As well as some £48,000 in cash, wedged between chicken nuggets in a freezer drawer in a home in Blackpool, which unravelled a tobacco fraud ring worth £16m.
The team has also confiscated £840,000 in cash from a Sydenham residential garage – which also formed part of a £9.5m tobacco fraud.
The investigations have led to 157 criminal convictions in the UK since 2020, with £218m recovered in the past year alone.
“Whether it’s cash seizures, confiscation orders or account freezing orders, recovering these assets stops criminals bankrolling their lavish lifestyles and funding further crimes that harm our communities, such as drugs, guns and human trafficking,” said FIS director Simon York.
“Crucially, this money goes back into the public purse, helping fund our vital services such as schools and hospitals.
“We are committed to recovering criminal assets and today the message is clear – crime doesn’t pay.”