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Woman arrested on suspicion of money laundering following police raids on homes in Romford and Ilford

PUBLISHED: 13:52 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 14 May 2019

The deputy head at St Andrews Primary in Barnsbury reported the man's strange behaviour to police

The deputy head at St Andrews Primary in Barnsbury reported the man's strange behaviour to police

Archant

A 25-year-old woman from Ilford has been arrested on suspicion of money laundering after human trafficking and modern slavery concerns led police to search a number of properties in Romford and Ilford.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate issued a number of warrants in Romford and Ilford in relation to an ongoing investigation into two linked cyber attacks in September 2018.

A business based in Basildon was targeted by malware that lead to almost £162,500 being stolen.

That same month, a school in Chelmsford reported similar malware on its systems and suffered a loss of just under £62,000.

The detectives were joined by officers from the Eastern Regional Special Operations Unity (ERSOU) and officers from the Metropolitan Police's Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Team on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9 to search 11 addresses of interest in Ilford, Romford, West Drayton, Croydon, Wisbech and Epsom.

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Cash, computers, phones and banking documents were seized after 10 search warrants were issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

After attending the 11th address, officers ruled it out of the investigation.

A 25-year-old woman from Ilford was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and has since been released on bail until June 3.

At three of the addresses in the Ilford and Romford areas, more than 20 Eastern Europeans, who were mostly Romanian nationals, were spoken to by officers from the Met Police and safeguarded following concerns of modern slavery and human trafficking offences.

Another woman from south west London assisted the police with their inquires by agreeing to be interviewed voluntarily.

Det Insp Ian Collins, of the Kent and Essex Cyber Crime Unit, said: "We've worked very closely with neighbouring and regional forces to execute these warrants and further our investigations into these cyber-attacks.

"This is an incredibly complex investigation and we will continue to seek out individuals who we believe may have benefited from the proceeds of crime, or exploited others in order to do so."

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