Puppy seller ordered to pay over £60K
A former Lydney man aged 36 was ordered to pay back £60,436 relating to the illegal sale of puppies and money laundering following a Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards investigation.
On 24 August 2020 at Gloucester Crown Court, Leigh Hancock now living in the Ross on Wye area was ordered to pay the money back by Judge Lawrie QC.
Hancock was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment after being taken to Court by Trading Standards in November 2018 for inaccurately describing Labrador and Collie puppies and money laundering. He made false statements about the puppies’ parents and how they became pregnant to make buyers think that the puppies they were buying had come from a family pet not a breeder.
Hancock was typically selling the Labradors for £650 and the Collies £350 each.
As part of the investigation, officers executed a warrant on the property in Lydney where Hancock was living in at the time.
Officers found around 20 adult Golden Retrievers and Labradors kennelled at the rear of the property. There were also litters of puppies in the back garden in an adapted shed. In addition, more than £5,000 in cash hidden at the property was seized. Receipt books and business records retrieved from Leigh’s home showed that puppies were being sold on a regular basis.
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for Trading Standards, said: “Buyers should be able to have confidence that when they see advertisements for puppies that seem to come from a family home this should indeed be the case. I would like to thank all of the local people who came forward with information about the sale of these puppies and I want to praise our Trading Standards officers for the excellent job they have done.
“Where appropriate our Trading Standards team will not hesitate to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure that people who break the law are deprived of their ill gotten gains. There are rules and regulations in place to help prevent this kind of criminal activity, and I would encourage all potential buyers to remain vigilant and make sure you are buying any animal from a trustworthy source.”