Police have launched Operation Doorstop Two to locate dogs sold by the Barnstaple couple.

A COUPLE have pleaded guilty to possessing and offering to supply dangerous pit bull type dogs from their home in Newport, Barnstaple.

Police raided the house of Steven and Tracey Tewkesbury in Jordan Close after receiving intelligence the couple had been selling and advertising the dogs as Irish Staffords online.

Four dogs were seized by officers on March 28, and three of the dogs, Troy, Lacey and Motor, were later identified as pit bull types.

Police said the dogs seized were said to be good natured and well cared for as pets.

Devon and Cornwall Police have now launched Operation Doorstop Two to locate the dogs sold by the couple, which are believed to have been sold nationally as Irish Staffords.

Detective Inspector Praveen Naidoo, of Barnstaple CID, said: “The operation is intelligence led.

“The aim is to identify pit pull type dogs that are in the community having been sold by Mr & Mrs Tewkesbury as ‘Irish Staffords’ and ensure that the risk any dog may present is mitigated by use of court orders.

“So far we have identified approximately 37 people in Devon and Cornwall who may have purchased dogs from this couple and in excess of a hundred nationally

“While it is a criminal offence to own a pit bull type dog, unless there are aggravating circumstances around the ownership of the dog it will not be our intention to prosecute owners.

“Our priority is to ensure that any risk the dog may present to the community and the family in which it is resident is mitigated.

“A number of Pit Bull type dogs have already been seized as a result of this operation and we are working closely with the courts to ensure orders are obtained in relation to the dogs promptly.”

Mr and Mrs Tewkesbury, who appeared in court on Friday, were bailed to attend North Devon Magistrates Court on Tuesday, May 21 for sentencing.