ALL too often these days it can seem as though criminals are allowed to walk out of court for serious offences with barely a slap on the wrist.

It doesn’t help that our prison system is close to capacity, forcing magistrates to consider home detention and softer sentencing options.

Many victims will complain the system seems to be geared towards defending the offenders, rather than genuinely righting those who have been wronged.

Fines are given out but defendants are often given months, if not years, to settle the bill, which is hardly a deterrent.

No-one wants petty criminals on the breadline going to prison for minor offences and ending up trapped in a cycle of crime.

But highly-organised criminal gangs cannot be allowed to continue to enjoy the lavish lifestyles and material trappings that crime has brought them.

The property fund is not a new approach as legislation about recovering assets from wrong-doers dates back as far as 1897 and 1973.

But the idea that ill-gotten gains can end up bankrolling local projects aimed at reducing criminality is a refreshing step in the right direction.

It may just give the next Mr Big something to think about if they stand to lose their car, their possessions or their savings.