Dawn raid on crooks

From left, PC Gemma Francis, PC Michael Ball, PC Paul Smith and PC Martin Anderson were all part of the succesful raid.
From left, PC Gemma Francis, PC Michael Ball, PC Paul Smith and PC Martin Anderson were all part of the succesful raid.
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A GANG believed to have burgled more than 30 properties across three counties were arrested during early morning raids.

Under codename Operation Chap, police officers swooped on two homes in Thriftfield, Highfield, at around 7am yesterday (Wednesday), to capture the suspected crooks.

Three men and one woman were taken into custody accused of conspiracy to burgle and handling stolen goods.

Property was recovered from a van, believed to have been stolen from Berkhamsted last night.

At the time the HeraldExpress went to press, investigations were ongoing and no charges had yet been made.

The quartet is believed to have carried out break-ins across the south of England including locations in Herts, Sussex and Shropshire.

Det Insp Fraser Wylie, who was in charge of the operation, said: “From my point of view, it was a really successful morning.

“It sends out a message to prolific offenders that we are watching you and policing you and we will do everything we can to bring you to justice.”

Officers were given a detailed briefing before making the swoop, when Mr Wylie told officers: “These boys are not afraid to kick off so make sure you secure them very quickly and cuff them and then search the property.”

The raids were part of Operation Scorpion – a police team made up of a sergeant and seven officers – which was launched in April last year.

The hand-picked team has caught villains responsible for dozens of home burglaries, as well as a high number of robberies.

In the current policing year, which runs to March 2012, dwelling burglaries are down by more than three percent compared to the previous year.

Mr Wylie is aiming for further reductions over the next few months, and is hopeful that the drop will be between five and 10 per cent.