Ipswich – Two people sentenced in connection with animal welfare offences | Suffolk Constabulary

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Ipswich – Two people sentenced in connection with animal welfare offences

A 34-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman have been sentenced in connection with animal welfare offences.

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Stacy Humphrys, of West Meadows, Ipswich, appeared before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court, today, Tuesday 7 September, where he was sentenced to 14 weeks’ imprisonment for breach of disqualification. He was also given eight weeks’ imprisonment for welfare offences, to be served concurrently.  He was also given a lifetime ban from keeping animals.

Humphrys had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of a disqualification imposed after conviction and one count of failure to be responsible for animals to ensure their welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at the same court on Friday 30 July.

Maria Lee, of West Meadows, also appearing before the same court, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months for welfare offences. She was also given a five-year ban from keeping dogs.

Lee previously pleaded guilty to five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and one count of failure to be responsible for animals to ensure their welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Both Humphrys and Lee were ordered to each pay costs of £105 and a £128 victim surcharge.

The pair were charged in connection with an operation held in Ipswich where 83 dogs were recovered. Police, assisted by partner agencies, executed warrants on Saturday 20 March.

Six people were arrested at the time following the operation.

Four other people – a 39-year-old man, a now aged 42-year-old woman, a 34-year-old man and a now aged 36-year-old woman – have now all been released and will face no further action.

As part of the investigation, police with support from the RSPCA, have found new homes for 66 of the dogs.  A total of 17 of the other dogs recovered during the operation, have also been returned where there was proof of legal ownership and no welfare concerns. No further enquiries should be made to police in relation to the rehoming of any of the recovered dogs.

After carrying out a complex and extensive investigation, which involved the investigation team speaking to police forces around the country, approximately 300 members of the public, various rehoming charities/centres and the RSPCA, among others from across the country, none of the dogs recovered were identified as stolen.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Nicky Wallace, who led the investigation, said: “This was an extremely challenging investigation, given the number of dogs involved and the difficulties we faced in establishing ownership.

“I would like to thank our partners, especially the RSPCA for their cooperation and for the support from the public. The dogs which have been rehomed will now go on to have the chance of happier, healthier lives, where they will loved and cared for.

“We did everything we possibly could to establish the ownership of each of these dogs but in some cases, it was not possible. Where ownership was established and, there were no concerns highlighted, the dogs were returned to their owners.

“The conditions that some of these dogs were found in were clearly unacceptable, and the sentence handed to Humphrys and Lee today reflects this. Thankfully, these conditions are unique and rarely seen in Suffolk. I am grateful in conjunction with the RSPCA that many of the dogs now look forward to a new life in their forever homes."

Previous release | 30 July 2021

A 34-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman have pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences.

Stacy Humphrys, of West Meadows, Ipswich, appeared before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court, today, Friday 30 July, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of a disqualification imposed after conviction and one count of failure to be responsible for animals to ensure their welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Maria Lee, of West Meadows, also appearing before the same court, pleaded guilty to five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and one count of failure to be responsible for animals to ensure their welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The pair were charged in connection with an operation held in Ipswich where more than 80 dogs were recovered. Police, assisted by partner agencies, executed warrants on Saturday 20 March.

Six people were arrested at the time following the operation.

Two people – a 39-year-old man and a now aged 42-year-old woman were released under investigation and two other people – a 34-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were released and will face no further action.

Both Humphrys and Lee were released on bail and are next due to appear at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on 7 September.

Previous release I 17 June 2021

Police have charged two people in connection with an operation held in Ipswich where more than 80 dogs were recovered.

85 dogs of various breeds and ages were found at West Meadows in Ipswich where police, assisted by partner agencies, executed warrants on Saturday 20 March.

Six people were arrested at the time following this operation.

Two people, a 47 year old woman and a 34 year old man, answered their bail today (Thursday 17 June).

47 year old Maria Lee of West Meadows in Ipswich has been charged with five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, one count of failure to be responsible for animals to ensure their welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and one count of aiding or abetting a breach of a disqualification imposed after conviction.*

34 year old Stacy Humphrys of West Meadows been charged with two counts of breach of a disqualification imposed after conviction and one count of failure to be responsible for animals to ensure their welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.   

Both are on bail and will appear before Ipswich Magistrates Court on Friday 23 July at Ipswich Magistrates Court at 9.15am.

A 39 year old man and a 41 year old woman remain released under investigation pending further enquiries.

*Aiding or abetting a breach of a disqualification imposed after conviction’ means knowing someone is disqualified from keeping animals but continues to allow that person to continue to keep animals and assists in keeping the animals

Previous release I 19 April 2021

Six people who were arrested as part of a police operation on the outskirts of Ipswich, during which over 80 dogs were seized, have been released on bail as enquiries continue. 

A large deployment of officers – assisted by partner agencies - attended West Meadows yesterday afternoon, Saturday 20 March, and executed a number of search warrants at the location as part of an investigation into a series of dog thefts. 

Officers were present at the site for almost 10 hours as they conducted thorough searches and as a result they recovered 83 dogs of various breeds and ages, which are suspected to be have been stolen.

A 38-year-old man, two 34-year-old men and three women aged 46, 41 and 35 - who are all from Ipswich - were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal following this operation.

They were all taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning and have subsequently been released on bail until Friday 16 April pending further enquiries. 

Officers have been working today to identify the owners of the dogs as quickly as they can, primarily through the use of scanning them for microchips in the first instance. 

This work is ongoing and will involve liaison with other police forces, as many of the dogs are suspected to have been stolen from outside of Suffolk. 

Detectives would like to reassure all those people who have contacted Suffolk Police today to enquire as to whether their dog has been recovered, that everyone’s call or email will be acknowledged if it has not been already. 

Officers are aware that many people will be anxious to know if their dog has been recovered and politely ask for victims to bear with them as they expedite these enquiries. 

Anyone who may have information regarding dog thefts is asked to contact South CID at Landmark House in Ipswich, quoting reference: 13719/21.

Website – www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update

Phone – Call 101

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999

Previous release | 21 March 2021 - 11.50am

Police investigating a series of pet thefts have seized over 80 dogs and made six arrests after an operation on the outskirts of Ipswich. 

A large deployment of officers – assisted by partner agencies - attended West Meadows yesterday afternoon, Saturday 20 March, and executed a number of search warrants at the location. 

Officers were present at the site for almost 10 hours as they conducted thorough searches and as a result they recovered 83 dogs of various breeds and ages, which are suspected to be have been stolen.

Six people were subsequently arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. They are all from Ipswich and their details are as follows: a 38-year-old man and two 34-year-old men; and three women aged 46, 41 and 35. 

They were all taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre where they currently remain for questioning.

Enquires will now commence to identify owners of the dogs and Suffolk Police will be liaising with other forces in the region. 

Whilst present at the site yesterday, officers also identified multiple breaches of the Covid-19 legislation and issued fines to four individuals, with several others given dispersal notices. 

A Dispersal Order under Section 35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 was put in place and remains active to minimise the likelihood of any further crime or disorder. This gives police officers the power to exclude a person from an area for a period of up to 48 hours. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, Head of Crime, said: “This was a highly successful and significant policing operation, which I hope demonstrates how seriously Suffolk Police is taking the issue of dog theft. We recognise that these crimes have a significant impact on the families affected and we will continue to disrupt criminals wherever we have information that we can act upon. 

“This type of crime has become a particular problem across the entire country since the first lockdown began 12-months ago, due to the value and demand for certain breeds. Our officers have worked tirelessly to develop intelligence and identify those who are believed to be responsible. 

“I am grateful for the support we received from our partner agency colleagues - and to the wider community - for their assistance in helping us to have this impact. I would also like to pay tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the Constabulary teams involved in yesterday’s operation.

“I know many victims of these crimes will be anxious to know whether or not we have recovered their pet. I would like to reassure them that we are working as quickly as possible to identify who all the dogs belong to and aim to reunite them with their owners as soon as we can.”

Detectives are appealing for anyone who may have information regarding dog thefts to contact South CID at Landmark House in Ipswich, quoting reference: 13719/21.

Website – www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update

Phone – Call 101

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999