Nine held over fraudulent housing and support claims after Grenfell fire

Nine suspected fraudsters have been arrested for claiming housing and support after the Grenfell Tower fire, following a series of dawn raids by the Metropolitan Police.

Eight men and one woman were arrested by Scotland Yard after raids on 11 addresses predominantly in west London on Thursday.

The Met stressed none of those arrested were genuine survivors. They believe two are linked but said all the offences are separate.

Some of them were living in hotels when they were detained, and the value of the frauds range from £25,000 to £100,000.

In a briefing, Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner said: "All those arrests are in connection with what we believe to be fraudulent claims for housing and/or support of one kind or another, arising out of false claims from people that they were associated with Grenfell Tower."

He said the force had timed the raids after consulting the community, saying he wanted to show "due respect" to the recent commemoration hearings and the one-year anniversary next week.

Shahin Sadafi, chairman of Grenfell United, said: "It is hurtful and saddening that people would take advantage of a tragedy like this."

Mr Bonner added: "These individuals that we arrested do not represent, in any way, part of the community.

"They've attached themselves to a community in order to exploit and make financial gain, and I certainly share the community's view that they are no part and they run the risk of not only obstructing aid and support... but they also run the risk of wrongly labelling the community themselves."

Five people have already faced the courts in relation to fraudulent Grenfell-related activity.

The Met said it "sadly" expected fraud to continue to form part of its investigation "for some time to come".

Updating on the overall progress of the criminal probe into the fire, Mr Bonner revealed his 200-strong team of investigators was expecting to start questioning suspects in the "near future".

Commander Stuart Candy also confirmed that the official death toll would stand at 70 people plus baby Logan Gomes.

Maria del Pilar Burton, who died in January after a stroke, has been widely regarded as the 72nd victim.

He said: "Pily Burton is a victim of the fire, as is everybody else who called Grenfell Tower their home.

"But the coroner decided that Pily Burton's death is not caused by the fire."

Mr Cundy added that he was still confident the fire started in a fridge-freezer in a fourth-floor flat.

A number of expert reports commissioned by the public inquiry into the blaze said they could not be sure of the fire's origin.