Seven men have been arrested in connection with more than 40 Asian Gold burglaries.
The suspects are believed to be connected to an organised crime group believed to have committed more than 100 burglaries nationally since July 2018.
In London, the group are believed to be responsible for more than 40 burglaries, the majority of which targeted Asian gold. Other linked burglaries took place in East Anglia and the Home Counties and in total, property valued at more than £500,000 is believed to have been stolen.
On Tuesday, 17 December, officers from five forces – Wiltshire, Bedfordshire, Hampshire, Thames Valley, and Kent – worked alongside the Met and Suffolk to identify and arrest those believed to be involved in the offences.
Three men, aged 48 [A], 56 [B] and 40 [C] were arrested on suspicion of money laundering at an address in Grittenham, Wiltshire.
Four men, aged 56 [D], 26 [E], 35 [F] and 30 [G] were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle at a location in Winchester, Hampshire.
A total of £26,000 in cash was also seized along with seven caravans and two vehicles believed to be stolen.
The arrests are linked to those carried out at addresses in Suffolk and London on Wednesday, 16 October where seven people were arrested on conspiracy to commit burglary – all remain on bail.
Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy, who has overseen the operation, said: “We know burglary has a devastating impact on those who are targeted and can leave people feeling extremely vulnerable in their own homes – the place they should feel safest.
“We will continue to work very closely with other forces to identify anyone involved in this kind of organised criminality and support those who find themselves victim to these offences.”
Londoners are advised to:
- Keep gifts and valuables out of view – placing gifts in plain view of windows will draw attention to your house and its contents.
- Be cautious when using social media – do not advertise your home is empty by showing you are somewhere else or having a countdown to your winter holiday.
- Consider using a timer to turn on your lights, your radio or TV to ensure you house appears to be occupied.
- Ask a family member or neighbour to pop in and open and close your curtains at various times and ask them to turn on lights if there isn’t a timer – so a potential thief does not spot a pattern.
- Dispose of boxes and rubbish discreetly. Leaving boxes outside will give away the fact that you have new and valuable items in the house.
- Consider property marking your valuables so that in the unfortunate event of a burglary it will help police to have a better chance of recovering your belongings.
- Protect yourself from distraction burglary, also known as ‘artifice burglary’ - a crime where a person tricks an occupant into allowing them into their property. Always ask for identification and never open the door to a stranger until you are.