Fraud Busts Net £19m Cash Seized, over 400 Arrests in Operation Henhouse 3 national campaign

Fraud Busts Net £19m Cash Seized and 400 arrests in Operation Henhouse 3 national campaign

Fraud Busts Net £19m Cash Seized, over 400 Arrests in Operation Henhouse 3 national campaign

A month-long nationwide crackdown on fraud, led by the City of London Police, resulted in over 400 arrests and millions of pounds recovered.

The intensive efforts from police forces across England, Wales and Scotland, Operation Henhouse, marks a major success in the fight against fraudulent activity and was funded by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC).

  • 27 arrests were made by Norfolk Constabulary.
  • 20 arrests were made by Bedfordshire Police.
  • Merseyside Police arrested 10 individuals, executed 12 search warrants, seized £548k in cash, and issued five Account Freezing Orders amounting to £287k.
  • In Warwickshire, seven arrests and 11 interviews were made in connection to cases where victims were defrauded out of a total of more than £450,000.
  • The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit made over 90 disruptions.
  • Essex Police froze £2m worth of assets and made 15 arrests.
  • Kent police, in addition to providing call blockers to vulnerable people, arrested 20 suspects, seized more than £7,000 and froze accounts worth nearly £100,000.

Key Results:

  • Over 438 arrests were made across England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • £19 million in assets and seizures: This includes cash, counterfeit goods, and equipment used for fraud.
  • Increased arrests by 52% compared to the previous Operation Henhouse.

Taking Down Investment Fraudsters:

The searches revealed a hidden trove of evidence, including an £80,000 Porsche by Lancashire Police, a £70,000 BMW by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, and a £15,000 Rolex watch, alongside $33,200(USD), £15,750 and a large quantity of high value designer clothing by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Combating “Sim Farm” Fraud:

The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) conducted a separate raid, arresting two individuals for possessing “sim farms.” These specialised setups send mass quantities of fraudulent text messages, often targeting unsuspecting victims with phishing scams or other deceptive tactics.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat joined the operation, witnessing firsthand the collaborative efforts of City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service in tackling this growing form of fraud.

Shutting Down Counterfeit Vinyl Factory:

Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) officers disrupted a major counterfeiting operation. They raided a factory producing illegal copies of vinyl records. The seized records, if genuine, would have cost the industry over £1 million in lost sales. The factory also contained four pressing machines used to manufacture the counterfeit records. A suspect was arrested on suspicion of trademark infringement and money laundering but has since been released pending further investigation.

Cracking Down on Insurance Fraud:

The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) played a crucial role in tackling “ghost brokers.” These fraudulent brokers sell fake insurance policies to unsuspecting victims. Over a two-week period, IFED served cease and desist notices to nine suspected ghost brokers operating in London, Surrey, Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland, and Manchester.

Furthermore, IFED apprehended a 43-year-old man at Heathrow Airport suspected of making over 100 fraudulent phone insurance claims. This arrest demonstrates the department’s commitment to identifying and prosecuting individuals who attempt to exploit insurance systems.

The success of City of London Police’s operations during Operation Henhouse 3 highlights their dedication to combating various forms of fraud and protecting the public from financial harm.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Oliver Little, from the Lead Force Operations Room at the City of London Police, said:

“The success of this year’s Operation Henhouse would not be possible without the hard work of multiple teams from police forces and regional teams across the UK. This is evident in the results, with an estimated £13m in cash seized and over 438 arrests throughout the month. It’s a fantastic and collaborative effort by all officers who took part.

“This year sees our most impressive results yet, with a record number of arrests and disruptions made. With fraud accounting for around 40 per cent of all crime in the UK, we know the important role we have as the national lead force for fraud and how operations like Henhouse are key in delivering results and disrupting criminals.”

Adrian Searle, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) in the NCA, said:

“Henhouse is proof of what policing and wider law enforcement across the UK can achieve when we come together.

“The emotional harm that fraud causes is immense, and many of those targeted are faced with devastating and life changing losses.

“Fraud investigations take place all year round, but campaigns like Henhouse not only demonstrate how far we will go to pursue those who commit fraud, but also how successful we can be when we work closely with our partners across the country.

“This partnership also extends to working evermore closely with international counterparts and the private sector to target the fraud threat emanating from overseas, and fraud enabling technologies and infrastructure.

“This activity on a number of fronts will significantly impact the fraud threat.”

Due to its success, the operation is planned to continue again in 2025.

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