A married couple from Norbury have had three quarters of a million pounds worth of assets stripped from them after it was discovered that they had been making their money through human trafficking and forcing women into brothels.

It was discovered earlier this year that Gheorghe Virtosu, from Crescent Way, had obtained his assets through trafficking and the Assets Recovery Agebcy (ARA) obtained a recovery order worth £750,000 through the High Court.

Virtosu had been trafficking women mainly from Eastern Europe through to France and onward into the UK where many were forced to work in brothels to repay their 'debts'.

He was convicted in the Nice Court of First Instance in 2005 and sentenced for eight years imprisonment on six counts including, aiding, the illegal entrance or residence of a foreign national to a State, receiving stolen goods and receiving the proceeds of a crime and aiding and abetting living on the proceeds of prostitution.

He was also fined 500,000 Euros. The case was referred over here after the French courts realised that he still had access to substantial assets in the, which were the proceeds of trafficking.

The ARA recovered assets in February this year, including £11,000 in a number of bank accounts and a BMW X5 and two houses. The respondents were also ordered to pay costs.

Charlie Dickin, ARA Deputy Director of Operations said: "Trafficking women for prostitution in this way is a modern form of slavery. Mr Virtosu had amassed significant assets from his unlawful activity and we clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of our unique civil powers in ensuring we reduce harm in our communities.

"It also sends out a clear message that working in partnership with law enforcement across the UK and in other jurisdictions will ensure that justice will be done and that assets can be seized in the UK even if the crimes are committed in other countries."