Police try to identify owners of 83 suspected stolen dogs seized in raid

More than 80 suspected stolen dogs were seized following a raid at West Meadows travellers site on the outskirts of Ipswich.

More than 80 suspected stolen dogs were seized over the weekend and six people were arrested following a raid at West Meadows travellers site on the outskirts of Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Work will continue today to identify the owners of more than 80 suspected stolen dogs, after they were seized in a police raid on a site on the outskirts of Ipswich at the weekend.

Officers are scanning the dogs for microchips in order to reunite them with their owners.

Suffolk police are liaising with officers from other police forces as many of the dogs are suspected to have been stolen from outside Suffolk.

The force has received a number of calls from worried owners.

A spokesman said: "Detectives would like to reassure all those people who have contacted Suffolk Police today to enquire as to whether their dog has been recovered, that everyone’s call or email will be acknowledged if it has not been already.

"Officers are aware that many people will be anxious to know if their dog has been recovered and politely ask for victims to bear with them as they expedite these enquiries."

On Saturday afternoon a large number of officers swooped on West Meadows, near Asda in Goddard Road, as part of an investigation into a recent spate of dog thefts.

Officers were at the travellers' site for nearly 10 hours executing a number of search warrants.

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They recovered 83 dogs of various breeds and ages, all of which are suspected to have been stolen.

The dogs are currently in police possession, but a spokesman for force declined to say where they were being held.

Three women aged 35, 41 and 46, two 34-year-old men and a 38-year-old man – all from Ipswich – were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.

All six were taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning but have now been released on bail until April 16.

Four people were fined during the search of the site after officers found breaches of the Covid-19 regulations.

A dispersal order was put in place at the site to “minimise the likelihood of any further crime or disorder”, the force said.

Detective Superintendent, Eamonn Bridger

Detective Superintendent, Eamonn Bridger - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said dog theft had become a “particular problem” across the country since the first lockdown 12 months ago, due to the increased value and demand for certain breeds.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Anyone who may have information regarding dog thefts is asked to contact South CID at Landmark House in Ipswich, quoting reference: 13719/21.