Seven people were arrested by PJ police on Tuesday (April 27) for the “fraudulent appropriation” of several properties in the Eastern Algarve.
Eighteen other people were named ‘arguidos’ (official suspects) while 12 properties were seized, the police force announced.
The suspects are believed to have “illegitimately invoked the legal concept of usucaption (“by which ownership of a property can be gained by possession of it beyond the lapse of a certain period of time”) to fraudulently appropriate rustic and urban buildings in the Eastern Algarve,” PJ police said.
So far ‘Operação Senhores da Terra’ has identified 25 properties which are believed to have been illegally appropriated by the suspects.
However, the police force believes it is possible that “even more situations of fraudulent appropriations could be detected”.
The operation involved around 20 house searches on Tuesday, as well as a search at a notary office in the Algarve.
The seven suspects who were arrested were due to appear before a judge.