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Major City of London police fraud crackdown sees 438 arrests and £19 million seized

Police say fraud crackdown led to record arrests (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)
Police say fraud crackdown led to record arrests (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

A nationwide fraud crackdown led by City of London Police saw 438 people arrested and £19m seized.

The month-long Operation Henhouse was hailed by officers as resulting in a “record” number of arrests, with a 52 per cent increase on the previous year.

Officers at the City of London, which leads on economic crime, made 39 arrests during the crackdown, with cases involving those tackling investment fraud.

Properties across the capital and Kent were targeted, with police seizing a cache of digital devices, cash, drugs, offensive weapons, and a replica firearm.

In a separate warrant, the force arrested two individuals for possessing sim farms, which are used to send thousands of fraudulent texts to potential victims.

Additional operations funded under Operation Henhouse included the disruption of a counterfeit vinyl factory, with police seizing fake vinyl records.

If sold at market price, they would have been worth an estimated loss to the industry of over £1 million.

Police also arrested a 43-year-old man at Heathrow in a case tackling fraudulent insurance claims, with police believing he had made more than 100 sham insurance claims for lost phones.

City of London Detective Superintendent Oliver Little 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.”

Under Operation Henhouse, police forces receive additional funding to combat fraud.

Detectives then hope that the resulting crackdown deters future would-be fraudsters. The operation is planned to run again in 2025.