The warning system in place to notify councils of possible dangers relating to housing Ukranian refugees detected one "adverse hit" in Suffolk.

A recent investigation by The Independent found in the UK a number of Ukrainian refugees were accidentally sent to live with suspected gangsters.

People with suspected links to serious or organised crime were among those approved as hosts under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, which was set up in 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine. 

There is a warning system in place when a host fails Home Office checks and an “adverse hit” is sent to officials to notify them of the danger.

Suffolk County Council received one of these warnings, but the Ukrainian guests were offered an immediate transfer to another home, although they turned this offer down and later found alternative accommodation with friends.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Ensuring the safety of sponsors and guests living in Suffolk under the Homes for Ukraine scheme is a priority.

“Before hosting a Ukrainian refugee, adults in sponsor households undergo thorough checks and welfare checks continue whilst the guest stays with their sponsor.

“Any concerns are acted on immediately and temporary accommodation or alternative hosting arrangements are put in place in instances if a safeguarding issue is identified.”

As part of the checks, the Government will screen the guest and the UK sponsor, prior to a visa being issued.

Once a visa is issued to the Ukrainian guest, Suffolk County Council is alerted and carries out an enhanced DBS check (a criminal record check) on all eligible householders within the sponsor accommodation along with checks on the property itself.

When the guest has arrived in Suffolk, a face to face welfare check is carried out within two weeks where any safeguarding concerns are identified and addressed. 

Temporary accommodation or alternative hosting arrangements are put in place in instances where a safeguarding issue is identified. 

The council say that as well as mandatory checks, it carries out local intelligence checks and undertakes further welfare checks on guests and hosts six months after arrival, and again a year after arrival. 

Further welfare checks are carried out after 18 months.

In situations where a host has lived overseas and in the last five years, Suffolk County Council requires an overseas criminal record check as part of local checking process, prior to a guest taking residence with them. 

The council says Ukrainian guests have access to a dedicated support team if they wish to raise concerns at any time.