Police raid Freshfields Animal Rescue

Via the Echo:

Police swoop on pet rescue home
May 1 2007
by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo

A MERSEYSIDE animal rescue home was today at the centre of a huge international police probe into animal rights extremism.

Teams of officers from Special Branch and the Merseyside force swooped at dawn on Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in Ince Blundell near Crosby as part of a major ongoing operation.

Shocked staff arriving for work at the East Lane centre were barred from the premises as detectives scoured the building for clues.

There were unconfirmed reports six staff had been held and computers and files seized.

Freshfields managers said the shelter had employed volunteers later discovered to be animal rights activists around 10 years ago, but it was not known if this was linked to this morning’s raids.

The blitz is being led by Hampshire police and the Merseyside address is one of 30 being searched across the UK and Europe.

Today, police confirmed the search warrants were linked to alleged criminal activity associated with animal rights extremism.

But a Hampshire police spokeswoman would not confirm what officers were hunting for, or if any items had been taken away for further examination….

…. Freshfields trustee Margaret Albert, who was not allowed into the centre, told the ECHO she was stunned by the raid.

“I am very surprised, there are no problems here. We have got an excellent name and have a good relationship with the police, particularly recently when we complied fully over the Dangerous Dog Act.

“When we did have extremists working as volunteers more than a decade ago, they were on site for a while, but soon moved on.

“We have a high turnover of staff, and a lot of students work here before leaving for something else. The current staff have been here for years.

“Police won’t tell us what is happening, and we’re worried as there are cats and dogs who are diabetic and need medication.”

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