Fraudsters admit duping buyers into buying puppies bred at cruel farms

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

Four fraudsters admitted making hundreds of pounds by duping dog lovers into buying puppies they thought were from loving homes when they had been bred at cruel puppy farms, a court heard.

The puppies were sold, often using adverts on Gumtree, using false names and gave buyers the impression the puppies were home bred, family socialised and treated for worms and fleas, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The adverts also gave the impression the puppies were micro chipped and vaccinated and given a full health check, the court was told.

The four, who are alleged to have made thousands of pounds from the sale of the puppies, are being prosecuted by the RSPCA, who seized a number of dogs, including puppies at a property on Low Road, Thurlton, following concerns from members of the public about the welfare of the animals.

Michael Rushmer, 27, of Low Road, Thurlton, Zoe Rushmer, 25, of no fixed address, Jacob Murphy, 26, of no fixed address and Jean Boyes, 67, of The Street, Bramerton, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between June 1, 2016 and June 18, 2018.

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It is said they conspired together and with others unknown to commit fraud by making false representation to the public as to the condition and breeding of the puppies for sale, through advertising with false names and locations and transporting the puppies to a place intending to represent them as home bred, family socialised and treated for worms and fleas thereby intending to make a gain for themselves.

The RSPCA believe the gang over a two year period could have made up to £300,000 from the sale of puppies, although the defence puts it a much lower figure of £90,000, and their case has been adjourned to a hearing in June when they a judge will decide what the true figure is.

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Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said they were still getting contacted from unsuspecting buyers and said in one case an owner had been left to foot a £3000 vet bill.

Judge Moore adjourned the case until June 24 and told them it was a serious matter.

The RSPCA said that they were dropping the conspiracy charges against David Green 48, of Homebred Lane, Loddon, and Carol Rushmer, 58, of Low Road Thurlton.

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