Essex

Gang convicted of £300,000 cockerpoo puppy fraud

puppies Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The dogs - some barely two weeks old - had soiled newspapers for bedding, no toys and some had no heating

Three women and a man have admitted fraud in connection with the sale of hundreds of puppies, some of which died or suffered serious health problems.

The prosecution was brought by the RSPCA following a raid at a puppy farm at a traveller site in Essex.

Teresa Wade, 57, Victoria Montgomery, 54, her daughter Roxanne Montgomery, 33 and Tony Hammond, 34, admitted fraud at Basildon Crown Court.

The gang, from Essex and east London, will be sentenced later.

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All four admitted handling about 750 puppies between July 2013 and October 2014.

The court heard the animals were sold for an average of £450 each and the RSPCA estimates the fraud was worth more than £300,000.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Some of the animals were so sick they died shortly after arriving at their new homes

The court was shown video footage shot by the RSPCA of dozens of cockerpoo (a cocker spaniel and poodle crossbreed) puppies kept in cages inside dark sheds near South Ockendon.

The dogs - some barely two weeks old - had soiled newspapers for bedding, no toys and some had no heating.

Teresa Wade, of Ship Lane, Aveley, South Ockendon, admitted advertising them over the internet as being home-reared, and that they were shown to prospective buyers at houses belonging to the other defendants, before being sold for up to £750 each in cash.

But some of the animals were so sick they died shortly after arriving at their new homes, or cost their new owners thousands of pounds in vet bills.

Wade will be sentenced later along with Victoria Montgomery, of Melford Avenue, Dagenham, and Hammond and Roxanne Montgomery, both of Grafton Raod, Dagenham.

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