Three men arrested in multi-agency operation to tackle criminality in Tandridge
A petrol tanker, hot tubs, electric bikes, diggers and £10,000 in cash were among some items seized and three arrests made as part of an operation to tackle criminality in Tandridge.
The items were seized during two pre-planned search warrants which were led by Surrey Police but involved a number partner agencies including South East Regional Organised Crime Unit – Gain Disruption Team, Tandridge District Council, Vehicle Crime Intelligence Police Service and the Environment Agency.
Tandridge Neighbourhood Inspector Dan Gutierrez said: “Although in the early stages, this operation has proven hugely successful with the items we have seized and was made all the more effective with specialist support from our partner agencies.
“Surrey is a vastly rural county and we are well aware of the impact that rural crime has on our communities, with plant machinery theft having a huge effect on businesses who are left to pick up the pieces.
“Operations such as this take many months of planning and hard work and will hopefully send a message that we do take this seriously and are proactively targeting organised crime groups.
“Fortunately we have been able to identify owners of some of the items we’ve seized as they had been properly marked by their rightful owners. If you own any kind of equipment it is vital that you do the same by ideally etching your details into items, or by using forensic marking kits so if they are stolen and we find them we can return them to you.”
The first warrant took place at a plot of land off Southfields Road in Woldingham on Thursday, 27 September, while the second took place in Caterham part of the site of Paddock Barn Farm, off the A22 in Caterham on Tuesday, 2 October.
The items seized from Caterham were:
- A Lawnmower, ladder, rake, rucksack, spade saw and chain were returned to the owner whose name was marked on them.
- An industrial strimmer
- Electric bikes
- Petrol tanker
- Two hot tubs
- Two diggers
- A truck
- Approximately £10,000 in cash
A stolen generator was also seized from Woldingham.
Three people have been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods:
- A 62-year-old man from Caterham
- A 35-year-old man from Caterham
- A 37-year-old man from Epsom
All three have been released under investigation.
Surrey Police were supported by the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN). The South East Regional GAIN spokesperson said: “The regional disruption team worked closely with partners today to deliver a real blow to this criminal enterprise. Multi-agency working and sharing intelligence gives us an edge in relentlessly disrupting serious organised criminality across the South East.”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro said: “Criminality such as the theft of plant machinery and farm equipment can seriously damage the livelihoods of hard-working people and cause misery in our rural communities.
“Operations like this are vital in disrupting those gangs who target our rural areas and I hope this sends a warning that we will continue to pursue anyone involved in this kind of criminal activity.”
More information is available about rural crime and prevention measures at www.surrey.police.uk/ruralcrime.