TEN people have been charged following an investigation into a car theft gang believed to be responsible for crimes across the south coast, including in Worthing.
The intelligence-led investigation targeted suspects based in East Brighton, in relation to at least 12 thefts of cars, ten burglaries – in which nine cars were stolen, some by theft of keys, nine thefts from vehicles, and two offences of possessing property suspected to come from crime, all during the past four months.
This has been a complex investigation which is continuing, and involves the use of sophisticated intelligence gathering techniquesDetective Inspector Julie Wakeford
On Monday and Tuesday, officers from the Brighton Organised Crime Investigation Team made the 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 as well some high value cars. Twelve stolen vehicles have 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.”
The following nine people were charged with conspiracy to convert criminal property: 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 March 19); Guiseppe Baker, 19, of Romsey Close, Brighton, is remanded in prison custody; a 17-year old boy from Brighton (A), is on court bail; a 17-year old boy from Brighton (B), is on court bail; a 17-year old boy from Brighton (C), is 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 (D), has also been charged but his first appearance will be at the Crown Court on March 26.
Seven appeared in custody at Brighton Magistrates Court yesterday and Westein and Nye appeared in custody today.
The case was committed to Lewes Crown Court for an initial appearance there by eight defendants on March 26 and one of them on March 19.