Police are questioning five people on suspicion of being involved in a series of more than 200 burglaries across the South East.
Detectives from Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the Metropolitan Police have been working together to try to identify and arrest a group of people suspected of carrying out break-ins in all four force areas since September.
The group was believed to be responsible for crimes in Newhaven, South Chailey, Cooksbridge and Crowborough.
On each occasion the offenders had driven to their victims’ homes in a silver or dark car, usually an Audi or BMW, before breaking in at the back of properties and stealing cash, jewellery and electrical items.
Officers from across the region were alerted at 7pm on Tuesday, January 13 after homes in Heathfield Park, Midhurst, and Nyetimber Copse, West Chiltington, West Sussex, were burgled.
Patrols and the police helicopter began searching the area for suspect vehicles and were contacted when a group of men in a stolen silver Volkswagen Golf used their vehicle to force a 27-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl in a Ford Focus to stop their car on the B2133 in Billingshurst. The Ford Focus was abandoned in West Chiltington Lane, Billingshurst, and a number of people were seen to run from the car.
A 24-year-old man from Sidcup in Greater London, a 29-year-old man from South Ockenden in Essex, a 20-year-old man from Billingshurst in West Sussex and a 16-year-old boy and a 28-year-old man from Reigate in Surrey were quickly arrested on suspicion of burglary. They are all being questioned in custody.
Detective Inspector Dave Wardley-Wilkins, of Sussex Police, said: “We need to speak to anyone who saw the Golf or the Focus being driven in or around Billingshurst that night or anyone who saw men running from the Focus after it was abandoned. We also need to find anyone who saw people acting suspiciously in Heathfield Park, Midhurst, and Nyetimber Copse, West Chiltington. Five people are being questioned about a large number of burglaries across the region but we will need the public’s help. If you know anything at all that could help us, please get in touch.”
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org quoting serial 889 of 13/01, call 101 or contact the Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.