#TheList Leigh Hancock, born February 1984, of 1 Old Dry Arch Cottages, Marstow, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6EQ – ran a puppy farm and conned buyers they were ‘family-raised pets’
Leigh Hanock pleaded guilty to illegally selling puppies and laundering the proceeds of his crimes
The puppy farmer, formerly of Rodley Road, Lydney, Gloucester, was turning out “conveyor belt puppies” which were in poor condition when he sold them.
The court heard Hancock “blitzed” social media with adverts for Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies that were purportedly the result of ‘accidental pregnancies’ but were in fact from the puppy farm he ran from an adapted shed in the back of his former home in Lydney.
He would say the puppies were socialised with humans, children and other family pets when the reality was they were kept in cages in the shed.
Trading standards officers analysed a series of advertisements that Hancock placed under various pseudonyms.
Prosecutor Rosamund Rutter said: “A hundred adverts were associated with the defendant – and seven mobile numbers.”
Hancock used various email addresses including the name of one of his children on one email. This was ‘to avoid advertising platforms suspecting he was a trader rather than private seller.’
“When analysed it was noted they were worded in a strikingly similar manner, and contained similar grammatical errors,” the barrister said.
Ms Rutter told the judge of members of the public who were looking for family pets and were assured that was what they were buying.
She added that Hancock even told one couple he and his family were ‘heartbroken they had to give the puppy up.’
The offences dated between June 2016 and March 2017 but Ms Rutter told the court that the operation was running before then.
She described it as a “conveyor belt of puppies, in poor conditions”.
Hancock admitted placing 60 advertisements between July 2016 and March 2017 which implied the pups he was selling were from a family home.
He also admitted withdrawing £23,134.56 of ‘criminal property’ from his bank on March 29 2017 when authorities executed a search warrant at his address and he became aware they were there.
Recorder Ben Browne QC told the defendant the puppies were: “A very different proposition from what you advertised.”
“In each case the set up was to make it look like it was, but it was blatantly untrue.”
Nine months in jail. £1,800 in fines.