Police in Brighton have made ten arrests in an investigation into a car theft gang believed responsible for crimes across the coast from Seaford to Worthing.
The intelligence-led investigation targeted suspects based in East Brighton, in relation to at least 12 thefts of cars, ten burglaries, in nine of which cars were stolen, some by theft of keys, nine thefts from vehicles, and two offences of possessing property suspected to come from crime, the owners of which have not yet been traced – all during the past four months.
On Monday and Tuesday, 9 and 10 March, officers from the Brighton Organised Crime Investigation Team made ten arrests on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary and to handle stolen goods
Their alleged criminal activity included the sale of property, such as valuable hand tools and laptops, that the thieves found in the cars and of some high value cars themselves. During the operation. codenamed Drill, twelve stolen vehicles have been so far been recovered by police.
Detective Inspector Julie Wakeford said: “This has been a complex investigation which is continuing, and involves the use of sophisticated intelligence gathering techniques. Car theft is not endemic in this area, but it can have a serious impact on victims.We are determined to ensure we take every opportunity to disrupt this type of crime.
“We worked alongside our colleagues in the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit during the investigation and will continue to join our efforts in order to tackle any organised crime groups who operate in Brighton.”
Police say evidence of further alleged crimes may emerge from the post-arrest investigation.
The following nine people were charged with conspiracy to convert criminal property. Seven appeared in custody at Brighton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 10 March and the eight and ninth (Westein and Nye) appeared in custody on Wednesday 11 March.
The case was committed to Lewes Crown Court for an initial appearance there by eight defendants on 26 March and one of them on 19 March.
William Westein, 18, of Theobald House, Blackman Street, Brighton, is remanded in prison custody.
Marcus Nye, 22, of Whitehawk Way, Brighton, is remanded in prison custody (to 19 March);
Guiseppe Baker, 19, of Romsey Close, Brighton, is remanded in prison custody:
Three 17-year old boys from Brighton are on court bail;
Bradley Martin, 19, of Whitehawk Way, Brighton, is on court bail;
Lewis Gent, 22, of Robertson Road, Brighton, is on court bail;
Henry King, 18, of Ninfield Place, Brighton, is on court bail;
A tenth defendant, a 17-year old boy from Brighton has also been charged but his first appearance will be at the Crown Court on 26 March.