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Burglaries across West Sussex and adjacent areas
There has been a series of Burglaries across the rural areas of the South East including West Sussex which span back to last summer.
Offenders have targeted large properties in rural locations and stolen property valued at tens of thousands of pounds.
Detectives from West Sussex Priority Crime team have been working closely with other neighbouring Forces to identify those responsible.
In a joint operation on Thursday May 9 officers from Sussex Police worked with colleagues from Hampshire, Surrey and the Metropolitan Police which led to the arrest of four suspects.
Officers executed a number of warrants which resulted in the seizure of a stolen vehicle and other items stolen from a recent burglary in Midhurst. A significant amount of jewellery and other items have been seized which may have been stolen. Officers are working to ensure all previous burglary victims can view the property so that it may be identified, a further press release will be made when this is available.
Sussex Police will continue to work with other Forces as more arrests are planned in the coming weeks.
Homes were targeted during daytimes when the owners were out; on the 29 April, five burglaries occurred across West Sussex from Henfield to Fernhurst and Loxwood. These offences have all resulted in charges; further charges for previous offences were also obtained.
District Commander, Tanya Jones said “We have worked hard to identify those responsible for the recent increase in burglaries and have done much to curtail their activities. We have worked with the community to ensure suspicious sightings are reported and responded to swiftly, by deploying additional officers to the area.”
DC Jon Woolley from the Priority Crime Team said ‘Our investigations led us to the fact that the offenders were working across the South and our colleagues in Hampshire were also working on the same offenders. We have worked jointly with Hampshire to trace the suspects. We quickly established a link between the suspects and South East London, and arrested key members on Thursday. The investigation is on-going, and we continue to target other offenders’.
In the meantime Sussex Police are reminding people to properly secure their property. Consider window locks and alarms, and hide expensive items and jewellery. If you need security equipment then it can be found here.
Guy Harbord, aged 29 years, from East Dulwich in South East London, was charged on Friday with Conspiracy to commit Burglary. This charge covers 77 house burglaries across the South East, with 24 such offences across West Sussex including Chichester, Horsham and Mid Sussex. He has been remanded in custody. Others arrested in connection with these burglaries remain on Police bail.
DI Tracy Edwards of West Sussex Priority Crime Team said, “We will relentlessly pursue those who offend in Sussex and ensure through continued collaboration with other Forces, every opportunity is taken to obtain justice for victims. I would urge members of the public to continue to report suspicious sightings; the success in this investigation is in part due to members of the public providing details of suspicious vehicles promptly to Police.
Other investigations have benefited from the public discreetly photographing offenders acting suspiciously and providing these images to the Police. With help from the community we can ensure we make our neighbourhoods hostile to those wishing to cause harm.”
If you have any information which could assist Sussex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 If you see a crime in action please call 999 and request urgent Police attendance.
Bogus police officer clue in Fernhurst murder investigation
The investigation continues into the murder of Michael Griffiths, whose body was found following a fire at his home in Fernhurst on 24th January, and a team of detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team is following a number of lines of enquiry.
These include talking to members of the antique trade locally who were either acquainted with Michael or who may have had business dealings with him.
Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “We have identified that Michael had a keen interest in militaria and attended a number of fairs at Bisley. I would appeal to anyone who knew him or has any information about his business activities, either through the antiques trade or the militaria meeting, who have not spoken to us, to get in touch.
“We have not ruled out any potential motive for Michael’s murder. We have not identified the two youths or men who called at his home earlier in the week and snowballed the house when he answered. We do know that when they called they claimed to be police officers, so at this stage, we are still connecting them with the enquiry. We are very keen to establish who they were and if anyone else had the same experience or saw them in the area on the Tuesday night (January 22) before the fire.
“Similarly, we have not yet traced the black SUV or 4×4 that was seen in the area on the morning of the fire and as a result, this remains a suspicious vehicle of interest to us.
“The crime scene was severely damaged by the fire and as a result the associated forensic work was exhaustive and complicated. We have established that accelerants were used to start the fire.
“I am determined that those responsible for Michael’s death will be brought to justice. If you have any information, no matter how small, that could assist us with our enquiry, please contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Killick.”
An update on the cause of Michael’s death is expected within the next month.