Published: 12:02, 09 August 2020
| Updated: 13:56, 09 August 2020
A special crime squad of detectives set up by Kent police chief constable Alan Pughsley has helped put burglars and robbers behind bars for a total of more than 36 years in a month.
Detective Chief Inspector Lopa McDermott who leads the team said: "Behind each of our cases is a victim who has been targeted by an offender who made a conscious decision to steal from them.
"The odds of becoming a victim to this type of crime are low but we do not underestimate the toll this can have on an affected person.
"My team will always do everything in their power to secure justice and I am exceptionally pleased to see numerous offenders and victims have received just that.
"What is even more pleasing is that we’ve also been able to reunite victims with property, some of which was of high sentimental value."
This includes Beatles memorabilia, a Rolex watch and a high value car.
The team used saliva on a discarded straw, incriminating footprints and CCTV from a fast food restaurant to jail criminals for a total of 36 years and four months during July. It has also charged suspects with 55 new offences and has made 18 arrests.
Their successes include:
A thief who stole cash and gift cards from shops across Rochester and Folkestone. DNA, which included saliva found on a drinks carton he took from a store’s fridge, linked him to each of the offences. He was jailed for three years.
A burglar who attempted to sell a stolen Rolex watch to a pawn shop was jailed for four and a half years. When he was arrested, officers noticed his shoes matched footprints found at another crime scene. He admitted several burglaries across Canterbury, Broadstairs and Margate in which Beatles memorabilia and a luxury handbag were stolen.
In Medway, three men who falsely accused another of being a paedophile were jailed for a combined total of eight and a half years. Each of the offenders was captured on CCTV inside a Chatham McDonald's fast food restaurant humiliating the victim in front of the public. They only stopped when they forcedtheir victim to hand over money.
A thief who committed a series of burglaries across Gillingham was jailed for three years and four months after being arrested in a stolen car following a chase across north Kent and south London.
A burglar who used a hammer to break into an East Malling newsagent before stealing a large number of cigarettes was jailed for 16 months.
Most of the cases were concluded by last month (July) but new charges have followed.
Among them is a woman accused of 12 cases of fraud across Rochester and Sittingbourne. She is alleged to have posed as a fundraiser and altered cheques before paying them into her own bank account. She is due to appear in court later this month.
And a man accused of stealing jewellery and antiques from homes in Deal and Sandwich has been charged with two burglaries and remanded in custody before appearing at Canterbury Crown Court.
DCI McDermott added: "As our new charges show, we are not resting on our past success and are continuing to target the very small minority of people who think it appropriate to steal, either through violence or break-ins."