#TheList serial offenders Grace Banks (aka Leah Grace Rogers) and Julian King (aka Alec Paul Rogers), both of 10 Reed Street, Gorton, Manchester M18 8JT, and Peter Jones (aka Aneirin Joseph Sculley) of 20 Graymarsh Drive, Poynton, Stockport SK12 1YW – imported and sold severely ill puppies to unsuspecting families
An investigation in Manchester led to the convictions in October 2015 of three people who made £35,000 a week importing sick and dying puppies from Ireland and selling them on to heartbroken animal lovers.
The trio created a callous facade of a reputable pedigree puppy company selling healthy and happy dogs, but the reality was a short life of pain, suffering and disease for the animals.
RSPCA investigators uncovered how Banks, King and Jones:
- Received weekly deliveries of puppies imported via ferries from the Republic of Ireland;
- Kept puppies at a “holding” address at Seventeen Windows, a large rented property in Marple Road, Stockport, which had purpose-built kennels at the rear, before selling them via a network of rented residential properties;
- Used a variety of different names;
- Lied to buyers, telling them the puppies for sale had been bred in a homely, family environment and were the first litter;
- Set up their own company through which they provided buyers with glossy “Kennel Registration” folders containing false paperwork;
- Used more than 30 mobile telephones, each one for selling specific breeds of puppy, to avoid confusion when contacted by buyers.
When the RSPCA and Greater Manchester Police raided Seventeen Windows as part of Operation Pagan aimed at shutting down the sale of dogs over the internet, they were confronted with the shocking truth of the crooked gang’s criminal operation.
The bodies of four Yorkshire terrier puppies were found at one of the addresses. One had been dumped in a wheelie bin, two in a plastic bucket in the footwell of a car on the driveway and one was with a live puppy in a pen.
Evidence given by vet Dr David Martin during King’s trial suggested these puppies had died from starvation over a prolonged period of time.
At least six large plastic buckets filled with live puppies were discovered.
In total inspectors discovered 87 live puppies, including Yorkshire terriers, huskies, West Highland terriers, pomeranians, Labradors, beagles, shih tzus, French bulldogs, cockapoos and more. The average advertised price for these puppies at the time was approximately £600 each.
All of the animals were suffering from health problems including lice, pneumonia, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis and bloody stools. Some had parvovirus and distemper. No veterinary treatment had been sought for any of the puppies.
Full details of the ghastly trio and their convictions are as follows:
Grace Banks (23/09/1986), real name Leah Grace Rogers. A former prostitute, she was also commonly know as Lilly Cooper. Her other aliases included Holly Saxon and Sarah Connor. She was a director of Lilly’s Puppy Boutique Ltd which traded from a rented residential property at Seventeen Windows, Marple Road, Stockport.
For months, Banks had played the part of a caring woman with a one-off litter – even giving away cosy blankets with the puppies so they could feel ‘safe’.
In reality, the tiny animals were riddled with contagious diseases, kept in pens, advertised using fake images downloaded from Google and other websites – and sold for up to £600.
Buyers all described Banks’ white Mercedes, high definition eyebrows, long black hair and pouty lips.
Banks admitted offences of failing to protect more than 1,200 puppies. She was sentenced to five months in jail and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs.
In May 2016 Banks was jailed for a further nine months after it was discovered that she had continued to sell poorly puppies while awaiting sentencing for her original conviction.
Banks’s brother Julian King (11/09/1985), whose birth name was Alec Paul Rogers; also used the alias Thomas Spencer. He was managing director of Pet Identification Limited, Juliano Media Ltd, Kennelreg Limited and Kennel Registration Ltd.
King was found guilty of failing to protect 835 puppies from pain, suffering and disease. He was sentenced to five months in jail and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs
Peter Jones (30/06/1983) whose birth name was Aneirin Joseph Scully, has used aliases George Cooper, Marco Emme and Michael Emme and is sometimes known by the nickname ‘Nye’. We understand that he may since have changed his name to Arnie Swartz. He is a former director of King’s ‘pedigree registration’ company Kennel Registration Ltd. He has a brother named Keir Sculley and his mother’s name is Diane Sculley.
Jones was found guilty of failing to protect 835 puppies from pain, suffering and disease. He was given six months in jail and ordered to pay £2,100 in costs.
All three were banned from keeping animals for life.
The RSPCA rehomed the puppies that were seized during the investigation, after providing the required treatment and care to those which were sick.
Sentencing: custodial; costs; lifetime bans.
Peter Jones and Julian King were previously banned from keeping animals for 10 years following a successful RSPCA prosecution in April 2010. Jones was convicted in the name Michael Emme and King in his birth name of Alec Paul Rogers.
The charges related to six ten-week-old Staffy-type puppies that had been left to lie in their own filth, unfed and in the dark, for days on end in the middle of winter.
Just three of the puppies survived after RSPCA inspectors found them in a freezing, pitch-black outhouse, with their ribs, spine and pelvic bones protruding from their bodies.
The pups were found on a stone floor, whimpering and huddled together to keep warm. They were extremely underweight and only had one small, dirty plastic bed between them – in the middle of November.
There was an “overwhelming smell of urine” when inspectors approached the outhouse, on Braddon Road, Woodley. The pups had worms and had been licking their matted fur in an attempt to groom themselves.
King had left the pups in the care of Jones while he went on holiday for a week, in what a vet later described as “atrocious conditions”.
Jones kept them in his outhouse, but claimed that he had only left the pups alone for 36 hours at the most while he went on holiday to Blackpool – although he admitted the conditions were “disgusting” and the remaining pups were lucky to be alive.
Magistrates heard that Jones had given the RSPCA and the courts a series of false names and addresses, and that he had also breached his bail conditions.
The pair were given a community sentence and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
Just one year later, in January 2011 the pair were back in court having breached their disqualification order.
This followed an RSPCA raid on Nook Farm in Tyldesley, Manchester where 33 puppies in poor health were seized. The pups, which included nine Yorkshire terriers, five West Highland white terriers, five King Charles cavaliers, five labradors, seven Pomeranians and two King Charles spaniels, had intestinal disease caused by infection or parasites and some had respiratory infections.
The farm’s owner, William Hartley, had rented buildings to Jones and King. Hartley was also prosecuted for animal cruelty but ultimately cleared. The court accepted his claim that he had prepared for the puppies’ arrival by putting out food, water and heating lamps but hadn’t seen them prior to the raid.