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Telford puppy sellers used fake names and takeaway addresses in adverts, court hears

By Rob Smith | Telford | Crime | Published:

Bogus puppy sellers had lists of fake names and email addresses used to sell animals online, a court heard.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard evidence from an RSPCA inspector who visited McDonagh Lodge in Arleston Brook in November 2018.

The inspection which also involved police saw 55 dogs and puppies seized from the site.

The case so far:

Three people are on trial accused of fraudulently selling puppies from McDonagh Lodge.

Betty Chanelle Burton, 34, Jeff James McDonagh, 37, and Luke Gillman, 27, all lived at Arleston Brook and have denied conspiring to commit fraud between 2015 and 2018 by selling puppies to members of the public under the pretence that they were home-bred.

Gillman is being tried in his absence.

Aliases

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RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall told the court that scraps of paper with names and email addresses were found at McDonagh Lodge in the course of the investigation, and email addresses were also stored on a phone that belonged to McDonagh.

In all 21 aliases were identified, she said.

She told the court of online adverts selling puppies which had been set up under email addresses with names like 'Dennis H' and 'Mary SW'.

Being questioned by prosecutor Hazel Stevens, she said: "These [email addresses] have been used to set up adverts.

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"A lot of these people do not exist."

Many of the addresses linked to the adverts actually belonged to non-residential properties like takeaway restaurants and tyre repair shops.

Often when people would enquire about the dogs, they would receive calls or messages from phones linked to Burton and McDonagh, arranging for the animals to be handed over.

The trial jury was told earlier that 42 puppies said to be connected to the defendants had been sold in the Telford area, with 15 of them dying and all the rest needing veterinary care.

All three defendants deny conspiring to commit fraud and the trial continues.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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