A MAN has been charged in connection with 77 burglaries across the south east, with 24 of the offences in West Sussex, including Chichester and Midhurst.
Guy Harbord, 29, from East Dulwich, South East London, was charged on Friday (May 10) with conspiracy to commit burglary.
He has been remanded in custody with others arrested in connection with the burglaries released on police bail.
A police spokesman said: “There has been a series of burglaries across the rural areas of the south east, including West Sussex, which span back to last summer. Offenders have targeted large properties in rural locations and stolen property valued at tens of thousands of pounds.
“Detectives from West Sussex priority crime team have been working closely with other neighbouring forces to identify those responsible.
“In a joint operation on Thursday, May 9, officers from Sussex Police worked with colleagues from Hampshire, Surrey and the Metropolitan Police which led to the arrest of four suspects.
“Officers executed a number of warrants which resulted in the seizure of a stolen vehicle and other items stolen from a recent burglary in Midhurst.
“A significant amount of jewellery and other items have been seized which may have been stolen.
“Officers are working to ensure all previous burglary victims can view the property so that it may be identified.”
Throughout the string of burglaries, homes were targeted during the daytime when owners were out.
On April 29, five burglaries occurred across West Sussex, from Henfield to Fernhurst and Loxwood.
These offences have all resulted in charges with further charges for previous offences also obtained.
District Commander Tanya Jones said: “We have worked hard to identify those responsible for the recent increase in burglaries and have done much to curtail their activities.
“We have worked with the community to ensure suspicious sightings are reported and responded to swiftly, by deploying additional officers to the area.”
DC Jon Woolley, from the priority crime team, said: “Our investigations led us to the fact that the offenders were working across the south and our colleagues in Hampshire were also working on the same offenders.
“We have worked jointly with Hampshire to trace the suspects.
“We quickly established a link between the suspects and South East London, and arrested key members on Thursday. The investigation is ongoing, and we continue to target other offenders.”
In the meantime, Sussex Police is reminding people to properly secure their property, consider window locks and alarms and hide expensive items and jewellery.
DI Tracy Edwards, of West Sussex priority crime team said: “We will relentlessly pursue those who offend in Sussex and ensure through continued collaboration with other forces, every opportunity is taken to obtain justice for victims.
“I would urge members of the public to continue to report suspicious sightings; the success in this investigation is in part due to members of the public providing details of suspicious vehicles promptly to Police.
“Other investigations have benefited from the public discreetly photographing offenders acting suspiciously and providing these images to the Police. With help from the community we can ensure we make our neighbourhoods hostile to those wishing to cause harm.”
Anyone with any information which could assist Sussex Police can call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. If a crime is taking place, call 101.