The weird and wonderful world of eBay police auctions

We have all watched those bidding shows on TV where people auction for products confiscated by the police but did you know it’s much easier to do than you think? It doesn’t require physical auction houses and can be done in the comfort from your own home. There are a number of police forces that are selling confiscated products and items left in the lost and found online. 

Basically, the items the Force sell on eBay are products which were first held in the evidence management unit but were left unclaimed. All these items begin to mount up so the police only have 2 options available to them; dispose of the items or auction them off. What better place to auction these items off than eBay, the global auction site that hosts over 182 million active buyers.

The UK buys more items on eBay per capita than any other country

You might consider this to be slightly immoral to sell items that do not belong to the police however the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act in the UK allows for police to confiscate or recover proceeds from crimes. Moreover, the funds raised from the eBay sales are given to charities. In fact, charities have been created from the sale of confiscated goods such as the Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) which supports local projects undertaken by voluntary/charitable organisations that solely benefit the communities of Sussex. In other words, eBay shops, such as the one opened by Sussex police, are able to use the sale of these products to aid their community not only by protecting it but funding it too.

Some of the more bizarre products that have been posted on these eBay stores have been a Zenair Zodiac Plane, clinical waste bags, some tyres and a Buddha statue. Other mundane but interesting listings have included bikes, iPads, LED Televisions and groups of DVDs all of which are being sold at a discounted price.

Other police disposal auctions can be found on Bumblebee Auctions.

In 2018, Leicestershire police made almost £1.5 million in eBay sales

What makes eBay the perfect choice for Police Auctions?

Unlike Amazon which certain categories are gated, eBay sellers can sell in almost any category once they meet the basic requirements of being an eBay seller. There are also categories Amazon prohibits on their marketplace which eBay doesn’t shy away from such as vehicles. This is extremely useful for police auction shops as they cannot tell what they will be confiscating or be handed in at any time. With an open policy of selling whatever (to a big degree) and whenever you want, eBay gives police stores freedom.

eBay charges sellers for what they actually sell. With the chance of the bizarre and down-right weird being sold by the police, some products just might not entice consumers. Saying that, with eBay, there is no reason why you shouldn’t try to sell it, who knows maybe there’s someone who has been looking for months for that specific item right?

No fulfilment centre fees – as a police station, all stock is safely secured for pick up by consumers (generally only small inventory is shipped by police sellers).

Personal listings mean you can sell items for as cheap as you like without competing with others. These shops want to get ride of these items as fast and efficiently as they can which is why products start so cheap. If there is a demand for a specific product then the price will raise with each bid. If not, they can still get rid of the ‘stock’.