Cock-fighting evidence found in fraud and money-laundering swoopBy Jon Nurse
February 27, 2013
RSPCA officers have found birds thought to be used in cock-fighting in a swoop on five men suspected of fraud and money laundering.
Detectives and financial experts from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) searched an address in Nine Mile Ride on Tuesday morning, with the men arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.
RSPCA officers also found several birds and evidence of cock-fighting.
Two of the men, aged 55 and 27, live at the address and the other three men, aged 49, 48 and 32, live at addresses nearby.
The 55 and 27-year-old are in custody and the other three have been bailed until Tuesday, April 23, while enquiries continue.
Detective Inspector Simon Harsley of SEROCU said: "This investigation is at early stage. It is a multi-agency intelligence-led operation and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to seek to uncover evidence of offending."
The arrests are part of a SEROCU investigation into information suggesting that people living in at least 12 homes in Berkshire and Oxfordshire have been defrauded by being overcharged for work, including unnecessary and non-existent work, to renovate and repair their properties.
The property was searched by police together with staff from HMRC, West Berkshire Trading Standards, Oxfordshire Trading Standards, Wokingham Borough Council planning, the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency, the RSPCA, and Berkshire Fire and Rescue. All are following specific lines of enquiry.
Paperwork, computers and related records relating to Able Building Roofing Services Ltd of Nine Mile Ride were amongst material seized at the address.
SEROCU is a union of officers and staff from Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, and Thames Valley Police forces.