Suffolk Police seize 83 stolen dogs during major operation in West Meadows, Ipswich
More than 80 stolen dogs have been seized by police as part of an investigation into a growing number of pet thefts in the county.
Three men, one aged 38 and two 34, and three women aged 46, 41 and 35, were arrested at the location on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.
The six people, who are all from Ipswich, were taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning but have now been released on bail.
Police are now working to find the owners of the dogs.
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.”
The operation also saw four people fined for breaching lockdown restrictions, with several others having been handed dispersal notices.
Anyone who has information about dog thefts is asked to call 101 quoting 13719/21.