More than two dozen stolen dogs have been rescued after officers raided an illegal kennel in Surrey.
Twenty-six dogs were found on the site in Epsom, in Surrey, along with three stolen caravans, two stolen vehicles and a stolen trailer - which were also seized.
Three women, aged 20, 23, and 30, were arrested by Surrey Police on suspicion of fraud offences.
The dogs were checked by a vet at the site and they will continue to receive medical treatment.
Microchip enquiries are underway to establish who they belong to, police said.
Inspector Jon Vale, Borough Commander for Epsom and Ewell, said: “This was a highly successful operation, with several animals and vehicles recovered.
“I hope that today’s result, and the investigation that follows it, will reassure our partners and the public that we will not tolerate criminal activity in Epsom.”
The seizure comes just weeks after police investigating dog thefts in Essex arrested a 54-year-old woman and two teenage boys as they rescued 27 animals.
The group, arrested on suspicion of theft and animal cruelty, have since been released under investigation.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, the Covid pandemic saw a sharp rise in the number of people buying animals.
Its research found that a total of 3.2 million households added a new pet to their family during the first lockdown.
In London, the number of pet dogs reported stolen increased by more than 75 per cent in the past four years with brazen thieves even carrying out daylight burglaries just to snatch pedigree pooches bought in lockdown.
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