Police still working to identify suspected stolen dogs seized in West Meadows raid
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Suffolk Constabulary has said it continues to work with forces nationwide to reunite dozens of suspected stolen dogs with their owners following a raid at West Meadows, in Ipswich.
The force said investigations continued a week after officers executed a number of warrants at the travellers' site, off Goddard Road, on the afternoon of Saturday, March 20, as part of an investigation into a spate of dog thefts.
A total of 83 suspected stolen dogs, of various breeds and ages, were recovered after officers spent 10 hours at the site.
Three men – two aged 34 and one aged 38 – and three women, aged 46, 41 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.
All six were taken to Martlesham police investigation centre for questioning and later released on bail until April 16.
Work quickly began to identify owners of the dogs, with officers scanning microchips and liaising with other police forces.
On Monday, police said many of the dogs were suspected to have been stolen from outside Suffolk, but that investigators hoped to start reuniting the dogs with their owners within days, where possible.
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Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger revealed that some of the dogs had needed care and support, adding: "Our absolute focus is trying to identify who each of the dogs belong to, using microchips where possible, or other methods where that's not possible.
"Not all are microchipped, which will create some challenges, but we will be using the right databases to do it as soon as possible.
"Where that information has been provided to police forces, we will use our network to quickly identify and make contact with the owners and hopefully get them back to their proper homes within the next few days where that's possible."
Det Ch Supt Bridger said Suffolk police has received a large number of enquiries following the raid.
Police said they were unable to share details or pictures of the dogs, but had taken calls from the public and given straightforward answers where descriptions of missing dogs did not match any of those seized.
On Friday, a police spokesman said the investigation was still ongoing, but that the constabulary was engaging with other police forces and agencies across the country, and was still establishing the breeds and ages of the dogs.