Watches, jewellery and medals are among a haul worth more than £2 million that police want to reunite with their rightful owners
PUBLISHED: 12:06 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 02 January 2019
Detectives are releasing photographs of thousands of items of property recovered as part of a major investigation into a prolific crime gang.
Police now hope to reunite the items with their rightful owners following a court case in which the judge said the nine criminals had devastated the lives of those affected.
The goods, including watches, jewellery, medals, personal lockets and even included a dog taken by the gang, are believed to have come from crimes in Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties between December 9 in 2016 and January 9, 2018,
Last month, 12 gang members were sentenced to a total of 71 years in jail.
Judge Stephen Holt said in his almost 40 years involvement in the courts’ system, he did not think he had come across such a case.
He said: “I don’t think I’ve ever come across as serious a conspiracy to burgle in terms of the sheer amounts stolen, the number of properties broken into and most importantly the lives left devastated by people having their homes invaded and damaged by you.”
They had committed more than 200 burglaries, including nearly 100 in Cambridgeshire, costing victims more than £2 million.
Gang members would mask their faces using balaclavas and smash or force open doors or windows in broad daylight.
They would steal specific items, mainly high-powered BMWs and Audis, firearms, cash and jewellery, all of which they could dispose of through contacts.
Norfolk suffered a similar number of burglaries to Cambridgeshire while other offences took place in Suffolk, Essex and Bedfordshire.
Most of the burglaries were raids on homes, although commercial premises, post offices and ATMs were also targeted in the spree.
Detective Inspector Craig Harrison, who led the investigation, said: “These sentences reflect the scale and impact of this gang’s offending.
“Every one of their crimes had a victim so the trauma and devastation caused in quite a short space of time was immense. They clearly had no care at all for the impact their offending was having on communities, particularly in south and east Cambridgeshire, which were particularly badly hit, and, indeed, across the region.”
• Anyone who believes an item belongs to them should email OperationHawkesbury@cambs.pnn.police.uk with their name, date and address of offence, crime number, exhibit number/album-photo ref of property, contact details, including email address, and any receipts/proof of purchase or photographs of items.