Seven arrested at care homes on suspicion of mistreating vulnerable
Police investigating alleged abuse at a string of care homes for vulnerable adults made seven arrests yesterday.
The four men and three women were held on suspicion of mistreating or failing to properly look after people with learning difficulties.
They were quizzed and bailed in relation to offences under the Mental Health Act.
The alleged abuse is said to have taken place at a number of care homes in Devon run by Atlas Project Team Limited, which is no longer in operation.
The homes were Teignmead at Teignbridge, Veilstone in Bideford and Gatooma in Holsworthy.
Devon and Cornwall Police launched the investigation under Operation Baddeck in November 2011 after reports that vulnerable adults were being poorly treated at the Bideford site.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) also carried out unannounced visits and issued its owners with a formal warning for failing to meet welfare standards.
They raised concerns about a "quiet room" where residents spent time or slept overnight, while being monitored by a surveillance camera, describing it as "unsuitable."
Ian Biggs, deputy director of CQC in the South, said at the time that the care methods were "stuck in the past."
Police have now arrested a total of seven people in relation to the enquiry.
In Teignmouth, they arrested a man aged 67, man aged 39 and a woman aged 26 and four people from Bideford, a 42 year-old man, a 38 year-old man and two women aged 24 and 28.
All have since been released on police bail until March while investigations continue.
Detective Inspector Steve White said: "Throughout the investigation the safety, welfare and protection of vulnerable adults has been and remains the absolute priority of all the organisations involved.
"Due to the nature of the enquiry and complex needs of the victims this investigation will take many months.
"Throughout this time the police will continue to work closely with all agencies involved and the victims and families of those affected will receive ongoing support."