Tokyo police raid 9 Bigmotor outlets over dead sidewalk trees

Tokyo police are searching nine outlets of the used car dealer Bigmotor on suspicion that weed killer was used to destroy trees along sidewalks outside the stores.

Investigators launched the raid on Friday morning to collect evidence, after they received a complaint from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government earlier this week.

A probe by Tokyo officials found weed killer components in soil samples taken outside the nine stores, and evidence that trees had been cut down at one of them.

The nine stores are among 14 Bigmotor outlets located along roads managed by the Tokyo government.

Bigmotor has confirmed to Tokyo officials that weed killer was used in the vicinity of at least five outlets.

Investigators plan to interview managers and employees to find out whether the company's head office was involved in the alleged destruction of public property.

Bigmotor earlier explained that staff at the outlets remove weeds and trash at the entrances and along nearby sidewalks every morning. It said weed killer may have been used instead of pulling the weeds out manually at some locations.

The used car dealer also handles vehicle repairs. The chain has come under scrutiny for allegedly filing fraudulent insurance claims after carrying out unnecessary repair work.