Man Arrested And Puppies Seized In Organised Crime Investigation

A 44-year-old man has been arrested and seized 57 puppies, three adult dogs and one cat at Belfast Harbour Estate in an operation investigating organised crime.

Following the operation, Organised Crime Unit Detective Inspector Conor Sweeney said: "The male was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including Fraud by False Representation and Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud. A quantity of cash was also seized. He remains in custody helping with ongoing enquiries.

"The puppies, which are of assorted breeds including Golden Retriever, Cockapoo, Miniature Terrier, French Bull dog, American Bull dog, Cocker Spaniel, Dachsunds and Roan Spaniel are being kept and cared for and are being examined by a vet.

"We suspect many of the dogs had been illegally imported into Northern Ireland from Republic of Ireland for onward sale within England and Scotland.
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"Police are absolutely committed to tackling the smuggling of illegal commodities through Northern Ireland’s ports. Most recent seizures by the Organised Crime Unit have been in relation to illegal drugs. However, as this operation has shown, drugs are not the only items being traded illegally.

"Smuggling is often conducted by sophisticated cross-border organised criminal groups. Such groups will not discriminate when it comes to the commodity being smuggled – should that be drugs, cigarettes, people, or in this case, animals.

"I use the word 'commodity' as this is how crime gangs view the people and animals they smuggle – as nothing but commodities which they can exploit to line their own pockets.

"Those involved in Puppy smuggling do not care about the horrendous impact this type of criminal activity can have both on the animals and on the victims who innocently buy them as family pets.

"If anyone has information about any illegal activity, please contact police on 101. Alternatively, you can submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/."

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