New teams of investigators are set to hit the North-East's criminal fraternity where it hurts - in their pockets.

Northumbria Police has set up six new teams of financial investigators with the potential to make a huge impact on ill-gotten gains.

Each team, comprising a newly-recruited member of police staff paired up with a detective constable, will work in each of the six area commands.

Formation of these new teams is part of Chief Constable Mike Craik's pledge of "Total Policing" to tackle crime at all levels, which is supported by Northumbria Police authority.

The team will use the Proceeds of Crime Act to target money launderers, drug traffickers or anyone with cash believed to be obtained from, or intended for, criminal activity.

Detective Superintendent Mike Jones, of Northumbria's Crime Department said: "Anyone convicted of money laundering, drug trafficking or similar offences will be assumed to have been living a criminal lifestyle.

"This means any money they've made or assets acquired over the last six years will be assumed to the proceeds of crime, which is eligible to be confiscated unless there is proof it was gained legally."

The teams will be trained nationally and, once operational, will be mentored by experienced financial investigators from Northumbria's Crime Department.