Police investigating allegations of fraud at Guildford Borough Council have arrested a man in his 50s.

The investigation, led by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), was launched after a £18.5 million overspend on two housing contracts came to light.

The council, which shares many staff with Waverley Borough Council, confirmed the news in a statement on March 21.

It said: “As part of an extensive and ongoing criminal investigation led by the police into alleged fraud relating to our housing maintenance service, we understand that several warrants have taken place and an arrest has been made by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).”

It is understood search warrants, covering three homes and six vehicles, were executed by police officers from the SEROCU Regional Fraud Team.

The Guildford Dragon reported police were looking for computers, smart phones and data storage devices belonging to named individuals.

A spokesperson for SEROCU said: “[We] executed a number of warrants this morning (March 21). This relates to an ongoing complex investigation involving the housing maintenance service at Guildford Borough Council.

“A man aged in his 50s has been arrested in connection with this investigation, and is currently in police custody. As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to provide further details at this time.”

A Guildford Borough Council spokesperson added: “This arrest comes after collaborated efforts between SEROCU, Guildford Borough Council and other key authorities.

“We continue to support the police with their ongoing investigation. We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our organisation and value for money for our tenants, residents and communities.”