Group of criminals responsible for 40 burglaries including Crowborough


Police are appealing for help to catch a group of criminals they believe are responsible for 40 burglaries across East and West Sussex, including eight in Crowborough.

Officers are also speaking to detectives in Kent, Surrey, Thames Valley and the Metropolitan Police to see if the same people could be responsible for similar break-ins across the south east.

Over the weekend and on Monday there were three burglaries in Copthorne, three in East Grinstead and five in Crawley that officers believe were committed by the same people as well as an attempted burglary in Copthorne.

They are also thought to be responsible for a further five burglaries in Copthorne, another three in East Grinstead and another six in Crawley as well as seven in Crowborough, two in Robertsbridge, two in Burgess Hill, two in Ardingly and one each in Crawley Down and Battle - all between September 17 and October 28.

Detective Inspector Dave Wardley-Wilkins said: “A common theme through the burglaries has been the fact that they have used a silver Audi on false numberplates as a getaway car.

“We believe one group of burglars are involved but at this stage we do not know if it is exactly the same group of people each time.

A number of people are involved but the make-up of the group may change depending on who is available.

“The burglars are targeting homes in some of the more expensive areas of Sussex, smashing doors or windows to get in and stealing gold jewellery in particular, after a quick search of the properties.

“We urgently need the public’s help to identify these people so we can trace and arrest them.”

Sussex Police launched Operation Magpie to tackle burglary across the county.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of the burglaries on the days they were committed or the days before and who may have seen people acting suspiciously.

Of particular interest is anyone seen with a silver Audi that is fitted with numberplates that have been cloned from another, unrelated car of the same type and colour.

The numberplates could be switched after the burglaries so police would also like information from anyone who may have seen cars having their numberplates changed or who has found abandoned numberplates.

Between 9.30am and 10pm on Saturday (November 1) thieves broke into three homes in Buckhurst Way, East Grinstead, and stole jewellery, money and laptops.

A home in Fowler Close, Crawley, was burgled between 9am and 7.40pm on Saturday.

Jewellery was also stolen in three burglaries in Meadow Way, Copthorne, on Saturday and there was also an unsuccessful attempt to break into a home in the road.

On Monday (November 3) between 1pm and 6pm there were a further four burglaries in Crawley - two in Thorndyke Close and one in each of Redgrave Drive and Kelso Close - and jewellery was stolen.

Currently officers are linking the following list of burglaries to the group:

3/10/2014 Maple Dell, East Grinstead

3/10/2014 West Beeches Rd, Crowborough

3/10/2014 Woodview, Crowborough

3/10/2014 Langridge Close, Crowborough

6/10/2014 Meadow Close, Copthorne

9/10/2014 Millbrook Road, Crowborough

9/10/2014 Warren Ridge, Crowborough

9/10/2014 Eridge Gardens, Crowborough

9/10/2014 Swift Close, Crowborough

10/10/2014 Jordans Crescent, Crawley

10/10/2014 Jordans Crescent, Crawley

10/10/2014 Baker Close, Crawley

11/10/2014 Tushmore Lane, Crawley

11/10/2014 Netherwood, Crawley

11/10/2014 Buckswood Drive, Crawley

12/10/2014 Newlands Park, Copthorne

12/10/2014 Newlands Park, Copthorne

14/10/2014 Park Shaw, Battle

14/10/2014 Weald View, Robertsbridge

16/10/2014 Sheringham Close, Robertsbridge

16/10/2014 Pegasus Way, East Grinstead

16/10/2014 Court Crescent, East Grinstead

17/09/2014 Calluna Drive, Copthorne

18/09/2014 Church Lane, Copthorne

28/10/2014 London Road, Burgess Hill

28/10/2014 Folders Lane, Burgess Hill

28/10/2014 Munnion Road, Ardingly

28/10/2014 Munnion Road, Ardingly

28/10/2014 Hophurst Drive, Crawley Down

1/11/2014 Buckhurst Way, East Grinstead

1/11/2014 Buckhurst Way, East Grinstead

1/11/2014 Buckhurst Way, East Grinstead

1/11/2014 Fowler Close, Crawley

2/11/2014 The Meadow, Copthorne

2/11/2014 The Meadow, Copthorne

2/11/2014 The Meadow, Copthorne

3/11/2014 Kelso Close, Crawley

3/11/2014 Thorndyke Close, Crawley

3/11/2014 Thorndyke Close, Crawley

3/11/2014 Redgrave Drive, Crawley

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

If you have any information about burglaries or shops selling stolen goods, call 101 or email For crime prevention advice visit

If you see or hear a burglary taking place call 999 immediately.

Residents can also being encouraged to register their items on the world’s largest property database so that if they are stolen, they can be reunited with the owners - and so the offenders can be prosecuted.

You can register your property in just a few minutes by visiting To watch a video about Immobilise and how it works, visit

Follow the joint burglary campaign being run across Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Thames Valley using the hashtag #LightLockList on Twitter.