Operation Henhouse 3 sees record amount of arrests and seizures made, led by City of London Police

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Operation Henhouse 3 sees record amount of arrests and seizures made, led by City of London Police
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Henhouse 3, a nationwide intensification on fraud, records over 400 arrests and £19 million in assets seized.

A month-long nationwide policing intensification on fraud in February resulted in 438 arrests, 211 interviews and assets and seizures of £19 million.

The month-long operation was led by the City of London Police as the National Lead Force for Fraud and funded by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC).

Overseeing and coordinating the efforts of all police forces across England, Wales and Scotland, Operation Henhouse, now in its third year, has demonstrated remarkable progress, marking a 52 per cent increase in arrests compared to the previous year

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.”

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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.”

The objective of Op Henhouse is that for one month, police forces receive additional funding from the NECC, empowering them to bolster resources dedicated to combating fraud. This intensification period generates a nationwide crackdown on fraudulent activities, sending a clear message of deterrence to fraudsters.

As part of the intensification, City of London Police officers executed nine warrants, made 39 arrests, and conducted 18 voluntary interviews. Notably, a significant operation led by the Fraud Operations team targeted investment fraud, resulting in multiple warrants executed across London and Kent. The search of properties yielded a cache of digital devices, cash, drugs, offensive weapons, and a replica firearm.

In a separate warrant, the City of London Police’s Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) arrested two individuals for possessing sim farms, which are used to send thousands of fraudulent texts to potential victims. Security Minister Tom Tugendhat attended the warrant to witness first-hand the work of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service in the fight against fraud.

Additional operations funded under Operation Henhouse 3 included the disruption of a counterfeit vinyl factory by officers from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). They seized counterfeit vinyl records which, if genuine and sold at retail price, would have been worth an estimated loss to the industry of over £1 million. Four pressing machines, used to create the vinyl were found inside the factory. A man was arrested on suspicion of trademark and money laundering offences and has since been released under investigation.

Finally, officers from the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) served nine cease and desist notices over a two-week period to help tackle ghost brokers. The notices were delivered in London, Surrey, Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland and Manchester. A 43-year-old man, who officers suspect made over 100 fraudulent claims on insurance for lost phones, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on 22 February.

Due to the ongoing success of Operation Henhouse, the operation is planned to run again in 2025.

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