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Four police services hunt possible ex-military offender behind violent burglaries

Detectives have appealed for help solving seven aggravated burglaries in the South-east, including one in the Maidenhead area, believed to be linked.

Police services for the Thames Valley, Surrey, Sussex and Kent think the high-value burglaries, which focus on jewellery theft, were committed by the same person with what they describe as ‘specialist skills’.

He may be ex-military due to his levels of preparation and the manner and language he uses during the crimes. The offender appears aware of his target houses’ layouts, who is at home and where valuables are kept.

He has used violence and the threat of a sawn-off shotgun and left victims injured, tied up, and physically and mentally shaken. Police believe he has stolen than £1m of valuable items.

He is described as white, of a stocky, muscular build, about 6ft tall and he speaks with a South of England accent.

CCTV footage has been released on the Maidenhead burglary, which took place on January 21, 2015.

There were two victims at the property in Maidenhead. Jewellery and watches were stolen worth about £400,000 were stolen.

No further details about the location of the raid have been released.

Speaking on behalf of the four forces, Detective Inspector Dee Fielding from Surrey Police said: “Each of these burglaries have been extremely distressing for the victims involved and have been investigated both in isolation by the relevant force and together as a cross-border investigation.

“We do not believe this to be the work of an opportunist burglar, but someone who has specialist knowledge and skills - possibly ex forces or from a similar background due to the way he has behaved and the circumstances of each incident. The burglaries all appear to be the work of someone who knows exactly what they are doing and who is incredibly decisive in their actions.

“On each occasion unnecessary levels of violence has been used in addition to a firearm, which he used to threaten the victims, who have then been tied up.

“He has worked quickly and appears to have knowledge of who is home at the time of each attack, the location of safes and the layout of the home. This leads us to believe he has planned the attacks in advance with a great level of detail and prior knowledge.

“More than £1m worth of valuable items, including irreplaceable heirlooms have been taken on each occasion. However, this investigation is primarily driven with the aim of preventing any further harm coming to anybody else by identifying and bringing a violent and dangerous man to justice.

“Whoever is responsible for these incidents may seem to have cash or income disproportionate to their job, they might also be often travelling or away without explanation for long periods of time. If you are aware of someone who fits the potential background we have described and is also behaving suspiciously I would urge you to get in touch with us immediately.

“If you have information about these individual incidents please come forward, however we are particularly keen to hear from people who may be able to help identify this offender.

“If you have any information or you feel you can help, please do get in touch. You can either email  OpPrometheus@surrey.pnn.police.uk or you can call 101 and ask for Surrey Police, Op Prometheus. If you aren’t comfortable talking to the police, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call. ”

Updates will be posted online at  www.surrey.police.uk/OpPrometheus.


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