More than 80 suspected stolen dogs have been seized after police raided a travellers’ site.
Officers arrested six people on suspicion of conspiracy to steal following the 10-hour search on Saturday (March 21).
The 83 pooches, of various breeds and ages, were found at the West Meadows site on the outskirts of Ipswich, Suffolk.
Suffolk police said they will now begin identifying their owners and will be liaising with other forces in the East Anglia region.
Three women aged 35, 41 and 46, two 34-year-old men and a 38-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.
All six, who are from Ipswich, are in custody and being questioned.
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Police said four people were also fined during the search of the site after officers found breaches of the coronavirus regulations.
Dispersal notices were given to several others.
The site was raided by police investigating a series of pet thefts.
Figures show dog theft has surged across the country since the first lockdown last March.
Increased demand for pets while people spend more time at home has sent prices skyrocketing.
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger admitted dog theft had become a "particular problem".
He said: “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.
"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.
"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."
A dispersal order was put in place at the site to "minimise the likelihood of any further crime or disorder", the force said.
The order gives police the power to exclude a person from an area for a period of up to 48 hours.
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