Arrests over Hampshire and Surrey 'rogue trader fraud'

Three people have been arrested over a suspected rogue trader scheme operating across Surrey and Hampshire.

Claims that people have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for incomplete building work are being investigated.

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit believes more than £1m has been obtained by fraud.

Homes in Banstead, Thursley, Tadworth, Chiddingfold, Chertsey, Farnborough and Greyshott have been affected, and in some cases "dismantled", police said.

'Computer records seized'

Det Ch Insp Paul Rymarz said: "We are investigating allegations of the systematic defrauding of householders who have agreed and paid in good faith for substantial work on their properties, often at supposedly cut price rates, only to find that they have been left in the lurch with thousands of pounds of work not done.

"In some cases people have been left with totally dismantled properties."

On Tuesday, police searched four addresses in East Hampshire, in Greatham and Bordon, and arrested two men, aged 45 and 24, and a woman aged 46, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud.

They have all been bailed until December.

Officers seized computer and paper records at all of the addresses.

Sussex Police specialist search unit officers also searched water at Fern Farm in Greatham.

Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and a police fixed-wing aircraft carried out searches of other open areas to look for stolen property.

A number of agencies are working with police.

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