Newhaven jewellery thefts linked to group of burglars

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A group of burglars believed to be responsible for dozens of break-ins across the south east, including a number in Crowborough, are now being linked to two in Newhaven.

Between 7.10pm and 11.10pm on Wednesday November 12 intruders broke into homes in Rectory Road and The Grove by forcing open doors at the rear of the properties.

They searched the homes before escaping with jewellery. Among the items taken were diamond rings, gold rings and gold bracelets and necklaces.

As in many of the other break-ins being linked to the suspects, a silver Audi car was seen in the area near the homes during each of the burglaries so detectives believe they could be linked to a series of 99 burglaries across Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London in which a similar vehicle has been used as a getaway car.

A reward worth up to £10,500 has been put up for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any of those involved in the burglaries.

Detective Inspector Dave Wardley-Wilkins said: “We urgently need to speak to anyone who saw the silver Audi in the area or who may have seen men running in Rectory Road or The Grove last Wednesday or acting suspiciously in the area.

“I would urge people to keep an eye out for unusual cars parked near their homes or who see groups of men acting strangely.

“If you see a silver Audi in the community that you do not recognise please call us in case it is linked to the burglaries.

“If you are in any doubt call us. We do not want to miss any opportunity to catch these offenders.”

The car is believed to have been fitted with numberplates that have been cloned from another unrelated car of the same type and colour so officers would also like to speak to anyone who sees vehicles changing their numberplates or who finds any abandoned.

In a joint operation between Sussex, Surrey and Kent Police, officers arrested a 41-year-old man from London and a 37-year-old woman from London on November 16 in Essex after stopping a Ford Mondeo that detectives believe could be linked to some of the burglaries.

The man and the woman have been questioned on suspicion of burglary.

The man remains in custody. The woman has been released on bail until January 30.

The Ford has been seized and is being examined.

Sussex Police, Kent Police and Surrey Police have each contributed £2,500 to a reward to help catch the offenders - a total of £7,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved.

Independent from the police, the charity Crimestoppers is offering its own reward of up to £3,000 for information that is passed anonymously through the organisation’s 0800 555111 number that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for these crimes.

If information passed to the charity should lead to an arrest and conviction, both rewards will be considered.

Anyone with information should contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting Operation Smart, email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101.