Eight held in big mortgage fraud probe

LONDON (Reuters) - Detectives have arrested eight people in connection with a suspected 40 million pound mortgage fraud, police said on Tuesday.

Officers from the City of London Police made the arrests at six homes in the north of the capital and in Sussex. Three business premises were also raided.

The operation revolved around an investigation into mortgages taken out on more than 500 properties in the south of England between 2005 and 2007.

The probe centres on Eastbourne Financial Services, a mortgage brokers based in East Sussex, which has now gone into liquidation and is no longer authorised by the Financial Services Authority regulator.

The seven men and one women, aged between 29 and 59, are being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

“The scale of today’s operation shows City of London Police’s commitment to investigate frauds and bring those behind them to justice,” said Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart.

“We have worked closely with the local police in Sussex and with the owners of the properties involved to minimise the impact of our investigation on local communities and on tenants.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison