Over 80 dogs recovered and six arrests made after police operation in Ipswich

Police investigating a series of pet thefts have seized over 80 dogs and made six arrests after an operation on the outskirts of Ipswich.  A large deployment of officers – assisted by partner agencies – attended West Meadows yesterday afternoon, Saturday 20 March, and executed a number of search warrants at the location.  Officers were present at the site for almost 10 hours as they conducted thorough searches and as a result they recovered 83 dogs of various breeds and ages, which are suspected to be have been stolen.

Six people were subsequently arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. They are all from Ipswich and their details are as follows: a 38-year-old man and two 34-year-old men; and three women aged 46, 41 and 35.  They were all taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre where they currently remain for questioning.

Enquires will now commence to identify owners of the dogs and Suffolk Police will be liaising with other forces in the region.  Whilst present at the site yesterday, officers also identified multiple breaches of the Covid-19 legislation and issued fines to four individuals, with several others given dispersal notices.  A Dispersal Order under Section 35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 was put in place and remains active to minimise the likelihood of any further crime or disorder.

This gives police officers the power to exclude a person from an area for a period of up to 48 hours. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, Head of Crime, said: “This was a highly successful and significant policing operation, which I hope demonstrates how seriously Suffolk Police is taking the issue of dog theft. We recognise that these crimes have a significant impact on the families affected and we will continue to disrupt criminals wherever we have information that we can act upon.  “This type of crime has become a particular problem across the entire country since the first lockdown began 12-months ago, due to the value and demand for certain breeds.

Our officers have worked tirelessly to develop intelligence and identify those who are believed to be responsible.  “I am grateful for the support we received from our partner agency colleagues – and to the wider community – for their assistance in helping us to have this impact. I would also like to pay tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the Constabulary teams involved in yesterday’s operation.

“I know many victims of these crimes will be anxious to know whether or not we have recovered their pet. I would like to reassure them that we are working as quickly as possible to identify who all the dogs belong to and aim to reunite them with their owners as soon as we can.”

Detectives are appealing for anyone who may have information regarding dog thefts to contact South CID at Landmark House in Ipswich, quoting reference: 13719/21. Website – www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update

Phone – Call 101

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999

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