Seven held by police in �9m fraud probe

SEVEN people are being investigated today in connection with an alleged buy-to-let fraud believed to be worth in excess of �9 million.

IPSWICH: Seven people are being investigated today in connection with an alleged buy-to-let fraud believed to be worth in excess of �9 million.

Six of the suspects are on police bail and another is being hunted by officers involved in the inquiry after failing to return to Ipswich police station.

They were all arrested by Suffolk police as part of an investigation into a suspected financial scam involving properties across the country.

Some of the allegations centre on Bull Road, in Ipswich, where new flats and houses were built at the site of the former Bull Motors factory in Foxhall Road. Other properties in London and the southern counties also form part of the inquiry.

Five women are among those who were arrested in the latter part of last year.

The quintet, and one of the men, were due to answer police bail this week, but their bail dates have now been extended to various times on March 17 and 18.

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All seven were arrested on suspicion of money laundering, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said.

A 42-year-old woman from Carshalton, Surrey, was arrested at Ipswich police station, while a 43-year-old female from Dagenham, Essex, was arrested at an address in Barking, Essex. The pair were the latest suspects to be taken into custody and quizzed over the allegations.

The three other women involved are aged, 40, 42, and 46. They are from south east London, Thornton Heath in Surrey, and Sittingbourne in Kent, respectively.

A 44-year-old man from Carshalton, Surrey, is also on police bail, pending further enquiries.

However, officers are now looking for a 50-year-old male from Mitcham, who failed to answer his bail late last year.

Last March 10 people were arrested in a totally separate investigation by City of London Police into an alleged buy-to-let fraud. It was said to involve inflated mortgages on properties at the Persimmon Homes Orwell Quay development on Ipswich waterfront.

Homes were raided in Sussex and London by officers looking at the dealings of Eastbourne Financial Services Ltd (EFS), a mortgage broker, based in east Sussex. The company was in liquidation at the time.

The suspects, who were aged between 29 and 73 at the time, are still on police bail, according to a City of London Police spokeswoman.

Other alleged swindles which form part of the inquiry were said to be in Manchester, Nottingham, Stoke, Leeds, and Thamesmead near Dartford.