Three arrested in dawn raids

By Patrick LowmanMORE than 40 police officers took part in dawn raids across East Anglia as part of a major investigation into almost 90 attacks on stores and post offices.

By Patrick Lowman

MORE than 40 police officers took part in dawn raids across East Anglia as part of a major investigation into almost 90 attacks on stores and post offices.

They swooped on addresses in Colchester, Great Cornard and Ipswich at about 6am yesterday as part of Operation Arctic and made three arrests.

A 38-year-old man, a 37-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man were being questioned last night about a ram-raid on the Ernest Doe hardware store in Cornard Road, Sudbury, on January 14.


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Detectives from Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk joined forces to launch Operation Arctic, based at a special incident room in Bury St Edmunds, in January in response to the spate of armed robberies in the region.

Since August 2004 there have been 26 armed robberies or ram-raids in Suffolk, 25 in Cambridgeshire, 22 in Essex and 13 in Norfolk.

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Detective Chief Inspector George Barr, who is heading Operation Arctic, said the armed robberies were rapidly becoming the region's “most serious” crime problem.

“There is not just one group of offenders, but we can't overlook the possibility of a link between the teams involved in the raids. This is probably the most serious crime problem across the region at the moment,” he added.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Teams of officers carried out the joint operations as part of the region's response to the recent spate of armed robberies, ram-raids and automated telling machine thefts across East Anglia.

“A 38-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of burglary in relation to an offence that occurred at a hardware store in Cornard Road, Sudbury, on January 14.

“The three are currently being held at Ipswich police station while investigations continue.”

The East Anglian Daily Times has contributed towards a £2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the raiders.

Anyone with information should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

n A huge haul of stolen antiques and art worth more than £500,000 was recovered by police as they smashed an alleged organised crime network.

The property, stolen from country houses, galleries and homes, was recovered from Essex, south-east London and Kent following a series of 13 raids yesterday.

Two men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and conspiring to launder money from the sale of the property.

The operation was the culmination of a two-year investigation into the theft of property amounting to £30million, including from burglaries in Suffolk.”

patrick.lowman@eadt.co.uk

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