FOUR men and a teenage boy have been arrested by police, after a haul of stolen items was found dumped in a Durrington pond.
More than 850 items were recovered from a pond in Whitebeam Wood, Durrington, by Sussex Police’s specialist search unit, after a dog-walker alerted police in July.
Four men aged 26, 24, 20 and 18 and a 17-year-old boy have been arrested and questioned over the burglaries and released on bail until October 2.
Detective Constable Emma Fields said: “We believe most of the items in the pond were stolen in the last 18 months or so before being dumped there, possibly because the burglars could not sell them.
“Most of the victims who we have been able to return items to have been retired and the jewellery such as watches, necklaces and rings that we have been able to give them back had great sentimental value. In some cases they were 21st birthday presents, items they were given by their parents or family heirlooms.
“We are still very keen to reunite the remaining property with its owners so I would urge anyone who has been burgled over the last 18 months or so to visit the website to see if they can spot their items.”
Thanks to work by detectives and calls from members of the public, officers have been able to link items from the pond to six burglaries committed in West Sussex over the last 14 months and return the possessions to their owners.
The burglaries that have been linked to the pond were in Church Road, Worthing, in July 2013; in Upper West Drive, Ferring, in October 2013; in The Thatchway, Angmering, in November 2013; in Horsemere Green Lane, Climping, in May and in Summerdown Close and Longlands, Worthing, in June.
The recovered items have been cleaned and examined and officers have posted pictures of them at property.sussex.police.uk/view.asp?folder=OperationDelivery in case victims can identify their possessions.
If they have been stolen, they can be returned to their owners and officers may get more evidence that could help catch and prosecute those responsible for taking them.
Sussex Police launched Operation Magpie to tackle burglary across the county.