Seven released under investigation in pets blackmail probe
Seven people arrested as part of a blackmail probe involving missing pets have been released under investigation.
Four men – aged 19, 22, 30 and 37 – and three women – aged 36, 38 and 40 – were arrested by Cumbria Police on Monday on suspicion of conspiring to commit blackmail and money laundering.
Their arrests followed an investigation across 15 police forces after reports that people with missing animals had been targeted and blackmailed through social media for money.
On Tuesday, a police spokesman said the seven, all from Barrow-in-Furness, had been released under investigation.
The force said the investigation started in March when officers were made aware of reports that owners were being contacted online and asked for money for the return of missing pets.
Cumbria Police said officers had identified 21 victims so far across the UK.