FIVE Berkshire men have been arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

The men were arrested in Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, by detectives who believe the men overcharged residents for repair work on their homes.

Detectives and financial experts from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) executed a search warrant on Tuesday morning (Feb 26).

They arrested two men, aged 55 and 27, who live at the address, and three other men, aged 49, 48 and 32, who live at addresses nearby.

The 55 and 27-year old are currently in custody and the other three have been released on police bail until April 23.

Paperwork, computers and related records were seized.

The arrests are part of a SEROCU investigation into information suggesting that residents of at least 12 homes in Berkshire and Oxfordshire have been defrauded by being overcharged for work, including unnecessary and non-existent work, to renovate and repair their properties.

Detective Inspector Simon Harsley of SEROCU said; "This investigation is at early stage. It is a multi-agency intelligence led operation and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to seek to uncover evidence of offending.

Officers from Thames Valley Police carried out the arrests, working with SEROCU officers and staff. Police were accompanied by staff from HMRC, West Berkshire Trading Standards, Oxfordshire Trading Standards, Wokingham Council planning, the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency (VOSA), the RSPCA, and Berkshire Fire and Rescue all of whom are assisting in the search of the premises. All are pursuing specific lines of enquiry, and the RSPCA found evidence of cock-fighting whether there or at other locations, and several birds.