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Police Forces Unite To Target Cross-county Burglars As Nights Draw In

Published on: 23 Oct, 2014
Updated on: 23 Oct, 2014

Surrey Police has teamed up with neighbouring forces – Sussex, Thames Valley and Kent – to target cross-county burglars as the clocks go back.

For the first time, officers from each force will co-ordinate activities during a three-week burglary campaign to catch offenders and advise residents to try to prevent them from becoming victims.

The campaign is running from October 27 until November16 to target the annual rise in burglaries and will include both overt and covert action, co-ordinated across the region.

Guildford police station in Mary Road.

Guildford police station in Mary Road.

Surrey Police says that officers regularly liaise with colleagues across the region about individual offenders or crime gangs but in the past ran operations at different times of the year – opening the possibility that burglars simply switched their attention to homes across the border during the campaigns.

This year, a co-ordinated approach means that one campaign will stretch from Chichester in the west to Margate in the east and as far north as Milton Keynes – an area of more than 5,600 square miles and more than six million people.

logo-surrey-police-darkBGA combined total of 2,645 burglaries were reported in that period in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Thames Valley in 2012 and 2013 – up 3.5% from the 2,555 burglaries reported in the three weeks prior to those periods.

The jailing of Anthony Murray, 31, is an example of how burglars can be stopped if officers from different forces share intelligence and work together. He committed more than 100 burglaries during a period of more than three years before he was caught on CCTV breaking into a farm in Worth, near Crawley, West Sussex.

He was arrested and when officers searched his home they found a large haul of stolen items that tied him to a number of break-ins.

Detectives from Sussex and Surrey were also able to identify him as the man responsible for more than 100 other burglaries in the area from March 2010 onwards in which hundreds of thousands of pounds of jewellery and electrical items were stolen.

Murray, of Purley Way, Croydon, admitted committing 104 burglaries across Sussex and Surrey when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court and was jailed for five years.

Detective Chief Inspector Tanya Jones from Sussex Police said: “Burglary is a priority for us because we know what an impact this crime type has on people. The emotional effect of burglary, for many, is often far more devastating than the loss of their belongings.

“This campaign sees us working with our partners, including other police forces, to reduce burglary at a time of year when we know it traditionally increases.

“You can get involved by joining your local Neighbourhood Watch, visiting our website and registering your property on

“I would also urge anyone who notices people acting suspiciously in their area or vehicles that look out of place to report them. Your information could be what is needed to get a gang of burglars off the streets.

“Together we can, and will, tackle burglary.”

Feature Surrey police badge 3Superintendent Jerry Westerman, from Surrey Police, said: “Burglary is a horrible crime to be a victim of, and it’s a priority for the police to tackle. Unfortunately at this time of year, as homes are in darkness earlier, we tend to see an increase in burglaries.

“Registering property on a website such as Immobilise and promptly reporting any suspicious behaviour will help us catch burglars. Everybody can help protect themselves by using lights on timers and locking things up. Please don’t assume it won’t happen to you – Light it, Lock it, List it!”

Superintendent Lee Russell, from Kent Police, said: “During the months of October and November there is an increased risk of becoming a victim of burglary. We are running this campaign along with other south east police force to make residents aware of that risk and protect against it.

“There’s a perception burglaries tend to take place at night but the reality is that they are much more common in daylight hours.

“Taking some really simple steps can help deter thieves, such as making sure a window or side gate is not left open when you leave for work as well as logging details of your prized possessions on We hope that through this campaign we can raise awareness of burglary and, working together with our residents, starve offenders of the opportunities to commit crime.”

Inspector Angie Jones, from Thames Valley Police, said: “Officers will be patrolling neighbourhoods and burglary hot spot areas identifying houses that could be at risk of burglary and posting a leaflet through the door advising people to contact them for further crime reduction advice.”

If you have any information relating to burglaries, call Surrey Police on 101 or use the online reporting system at Alternatively, the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you see or hear a burglary taking place call 999 immediately.

Residents can also being encouraged to register their items on the world’s largest property database so that if they are stolen, they can be reunited with the owners – and so the offenders can be prosecuted.

You can register your property in just a few minutes by visiting, the national property register.

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