West Sussex serial burglar linked with another crime

Simon Knights. Picture supplied by Sussex Police
Simon Knights. Picture supplied by Sussex Police

DETECTIVES hunting for a commuting criminal are linking him to another burglary in the south east.

Police believe Simon Knights, 38, uses the rail network to move from town to town dressed smartly in a jacket, shirt and trousers, committing burglaries and then getting the next train home.

Knights has been linked to burglaries in Barnham, Oving and Eastergate.

Detectives from five police forces – Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Essex and the Metropolitan Police – were already looking for Knights and a £2,500 reward has been put up for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of him for at least one of the offences.

Now Surrey Police have joined the hunt after Knights was linked to a burglary in Woodruff Avenue, Guildford.

“A 15-year-old girl was at home when she heard a window at the rear of her house being smashed at about 1.45pm on April 8,” said a Sussex Police spokesman.

The burglary in Guildford has been the first to be positively linked to Knights for several months but he could have committed a number of other crimes while he has been wanted

Detective Inspector David Wardley-Wilkins

“The girl shouted when she saw a man outside and he then walked away and escaped.

“Police have now recovered CCTV footage, pictured, recorded nearby of the suspect and have identified him as wanted man Simon Knights.”

It is thought by police that Knights is stealing cash and jewellery from homes to fund his gambling addiction, selling off any jewellery and spending the cash in betting shops, casinos and on fruit machines.

Thousands of pounds worth of jewellery have been stolen during the more than a dozen break-ins that Knights is suspected of being responsible for in Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, London and Essex since June, 2014.

Sussex Police launched Operation Magpie to tackle burglaries in the county.

CCTV footage recorded at 10.45am on 16 June last year shows Knights at Barnham Station.

Detective Inspector Dave Wardley-Wilkins, of Sussex Police, said: “We still need to speak to Knights about eight offences in Sussex and other forces across the south east also want to question him.

“The burglary in Guildford has been the first to be positively linked to Knights for several months but he could have committed a number of other crimes while he has been wanted.

“We believe that he uses the rail network to get around so people might see him on trains along the south coast, possibly smartly dressed. He has links to Essex so could have returned there but we need anyone who sees him to contact us as we do not know where he is.

“In the CCTV recorded in Surrey Knights appears to have hurt his arm, possibly while he was breaking the window. We believe he then got a train to Wimbledon but do not know where he went from there.

“If you have any information about where he is or where he has been, please get in touch.”

Charlton Athletic fan Knights is white, about 5’ 8” and has ginger hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information should email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting serial 840 of 16/06, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Burglar sought after Barnham, Oving and Eastergate thefts.