Make arresting deals at police auctions

Get amazing bargains on property, cars, computers … buy top-quality stolen bikes for £10 at official police auctions … discover the secrets of government auctions … fantastic prices on army surplus … ridiculously low clearance prices from government departments

We’ve all seen these type of adverts plastered over the newspapers and the internet. But do these secret stashes of bargain goods really exist? Is there a sort of parallel eBay known only to a select few?

Actually - yes. There ARE bargains to be found if you search hard enough - from stolen bikes starting at £1 where the police can’t find the owner to MOD warships for £1.5 million

What’s on offer

The good news is that there is a flood of goods on offer. the bad news is that there is no centralised agency to deal with it all (surprise, surprise!). In fact, there are several different auction organisers that deal with different types of goods, including:

Government Surplus Auctions: For overstock stationery, ex-MOD and council vehicles, redundant hardware and school equipment, service machinery etc.

Police Auctions: Sales of confiscated and stolen/recovered /unclaimed personal possessions looking for a new home. Bicycles, household items, jewelry, business equipment and, of course, loads of car radios and mobile phones

HM Customs Auctions: Sales of seized and impounded articles from the effects of drug traffickers and racketeers

Property Auctions: Government bodies, local authorities, receivers, executors, banks and building societies who have made repossessions, and many others besides now sell property at auction. Prices start from as little as £2,000

Finding an auction

The first point to note is that legitimate police and government auctions are not secret, so there’s no point in paying for a directory or booklet listing the auction houses or websites the government uses

Government Surplus

A specialist wing of the MoD, the Disposal Services Authority, now handles the sale of hundreds of millions of pounds worth of surplus military gear. You can see what’s on offer by going to the agency’s official website at edisposals.com  Prices aren’t particularly cheap, but the range of items available is amazing. The things on offer can include anything from parachute linen and riot helmets to quad bikes and aircraft! The Disposal Services Authority don’t sell to you directly but instead use contractors (‘external partners’) to store and sell the items. They provide the contact details that you need and viewing dates for the bigger vehicle items

For Army surplus clothing, the MOD site pushes buyers through to other online retailers such as the-outdoor.co.uk which sell genuine army surplus clothing, ranging from combat boots and camo-pattern jackets to ceremonial tunics and sporrans

But for an interesting insight into the underlying price of clothing, go to fieldtextiles.co.uk  which bills itself as the ‘Textile, Tentage & Camping Equipment Contractor to the MoD’. The website says it is “strictly trade only” but in reality anyone can buy - so long as you’re willing to place a minimum order of £250. You’ll find leather lace-up RAF shoes in packs of 10 (assorted sizes) for £40 (equal to £4 a pair) and Hi-Tec trainers at £3 a pair. But most people may find the army towels (50p) and blankets (£3) a touch too uncomfortable for modern lifestyles

Surplus MoD property disposal is organised by Defence Infrastructure Organisation. You can find out the details of any MoD property for sale by contacting any regional Defence Estate Office. You can find contact details for those regional offices here as well as links to the properties on sale in those areas

Police auctions

Bumblebeeauctions disposes of property that the police have seized or has been handed in, and where the police can’t locate the original owner. Stuff on sale reflects criminal tastes; lots of mountain bikes (many “as new”), Nike trainers (new, boxed), jewellery, car stereos (of course!) and electrical goods such as laptops and iPods and iPads. It’s run on the lines of eBay, where you bid up to a closing date. There are no minimums, so if no one else bids, the item is yours for £1.

You can also pick up cars which tend to be in fairly poor condition but really, really cheap so if you fancy putting in some work and cleaning it up you could make a real profit

One downside is that larger items will need to be collected from the police station’s property office. Smaller items can be delivered but the postage and packaging charges are pretty high (often around £10-£15) so you’re usually better off collecting them yourself from the station at no cost

You can do a product search by town and so only view items that are accessible to you before you buy anything. You’ll need to give the station notice of when you will be picking it up (usually 48 hours) so they can get the item ready for collection

Another minor irritation is that, to start bidding you need to set up an e-money account with Nochex, which is the only payment system Bumblebeeauctions accept. Once you’ve done this you can register online and get started

Another comprehensive database is Police Auctions UK

Not all police forces are signed up to the Bumblebeeauctions site (again, surprise, surprise!), but dispose of property through traditional auction houses. You can easily find the time and location of auctions near you by heading to police-information.co.uk

The West Oxfordshire Motor Auction (WOMA)  is an independent motor auction house that holds police vehicle auctions on two Thursday evenings each month. Police cars are stripped of any markings, sirens, and radios etc. Clearly they will have clocked up more miles than most cars but they are also likely to have been serviced more than a normal car and kept in great condition in terms of tyres and oil

Property auctions

The law allows the Government to seize properties that are obtained illegitimately or put to illegal use. When people break the law and are caught, law enforcement agencies can seize their property. After successful prosecution, the government will send them for seized Government auctions where every one can inspect and bid. There’s no specific website for this, but plenty of sites dealing with ‘distressed’ property such as asstez. You can Google distressed property auctions in your area

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April 19, 2012

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