Lowestoft property raided in �6m internet scam inquiry

EARLY morning raids, led by Suffolk Trading Standards, took place around the country today to close down a �6million internet scam said to have claimed more than 15,000 victims.

Part of the fraud includes persuading people to pay hundreds of pounds to become escorts, while other victims have been conned into believing they can get out of paying back their debts through loopholes.

A total of around 60 trading standards officers, police and financial investigators swooped at four addresses in Suffolk and six more elsewhere in the country.

Three people are currently being questioned after being arrested on suspicion of money laundering offences.

Four residential properties in Lowestoft, Claydon, Westerfield and Redgrave were targeted by officers.

A woman from the Claydon address was one of those arrested.

Other homes and an office block were also raided in Buckinghamshire, West Sussex, Devon, Cheshire and Wakefield.

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Two other suspects in Wakefield and Devon were also taken into custody.

Computers and paperwork have been seized as part of the operation which was codenamed Troy.

The investigation, which has been going on for more than a year, centres around 16 businesses which operate through websites.

Reg Ruffles, Suffolk's assistant county trading standards officer, said: 'This has been a complex and lengthy investigation in to advanced fee frauds.

'We think we are looking at about 15,000 victims and in the region of �6million has been made from the frauds.

'We have taken the decision to take action today in order to stop more people being duped.

'We want anyone who feels they may have been a victim of these businesses to contact us through either the Suffolk County Council website or look up Suffolk Trading Standards on Facebook where there is a link to make a complaint.'