Burglary crackdown in Sussex nets 71 arrests

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Sussex Police have said they are encouraged by the success of their crackdown on break-ins across the county.

Operation Magpie was launched to tackle burglary across the county and in the first three weeks of the initiative 71 burglars have been arrested and questioned over raids on homes, businesses and outhouses.

Detective Inspector Clare Shiel, who leads the burglary team in Brighton and Hove, said: “Although we are starting to see good arrests through this operation we continue to see many cases where burglaries could have been prevented through simple steps.

“In Brighton and Hove alone in the past week there have been more than 10 burglaries where an opportunist has been walking past an open window and helped themselves to someone else’s property.

“This is happening both in the day and at night time. A number of the victims in these cases have said that they never thought it would happen to them.

“A burglar will not hesitate to help themselves to your belongings if they see an opportunity. Make it as difficult as possible for them to strike by taking every step you can to keep your home secure.

“Also, any information you can give us about suspicious behaviour can help us to catch offenders and link them back to their crimes.”

Among the successes have been:

- The arrests of men aged 22 and 23 from Uckfield and a 16-year-old youth from Hailsham after a burglary in Hamsey, near Lewes. Amongst the items taken in the break-in were the war medals of the victim’s deceased father and these have been reunited with the owner after a search by police divers in the Ouse.

- A 19-year-old man from London and a 20-year-old man from Gloucestershire have been questioned on suspicion of a distraction burglary in the Withdean area of Brighton.

- A 58-year-old man and a 19-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods after a burglary in the Preston Park area of Brighton.

- Three people were arrested after a van containing a large number of stolen power tools was stopped by a road policing unit team on the A29. The men, aged 22, 23 and 24, have been questioned and released on bailed while officers carry out further investigations.

- A 42-year-old man is being questioned by police on suspicion of two burglaries that were committed in Littlehampton on Thursday 18 July.

According the police, in one in five burglaries, the thieves do not have to use force to gain entry into people’s homes and over the summer period the number of homes being raided rises because people leave open doors or windows to try to keep cool in the warm weather.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am encouraged by these early results, which show that our dedicated operation to address the increase in burglaries in Sussex is starting to take effect. I know this is an issue that residents are concerned about and both I and the Chief Constable are wholly committed to tackling it.

“I also urge residents to play their part too, especially during this hot weather, and to follow crime prevention advice to ensure their homes are not a target for burglars.”

Anyone with information about burglaries should call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

If you discover a burglary being committed, call 999 immediately.