Major investigation into 69 burglaries leads to dawn arrests in Kingswinford

Dudley News: The scene of the early morning raid at the Oak Lane travellers' site, Kingswinford. The scene of the early morning raid at the Oak Lane travellers' site, Kingswinford.

THREE men were arrested during a raid on a travellers’ site in Kingswinford this morning (Thursday) on suspicion of burgling almost 70 homes across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Around 100 officers, including colleagues from the Staffordshire and West Mercia forces, visited nine addresses at 5am supported by West Midlands Police’s dogs unit and the National Police Air Service.

The men, aged 21, 24 and 25, were arrested at the site on Oak Lane, and another man, aged 48, was arrested from a property on Wolverhamtpon Road in Heath Town.

The four men are suspected of being involved in the break-ins, which have seen families specifically targeted for Asian gold − predominantly in Walsall and Wolverhampton.

In some of the cases burglars have forced their way into houses and threatened occupants with violence − including one occasion where a woman in her 90s was dragged around her home in Wolverhampton.

The crime spree began last October with detached properties in semi-rural locations predominantly being targeted. The most recent linked offence was in February this year.

Officers from force CID have been working around the clock to intercept those thought to be responsible, closing-in over the last few days and leading to the arrests.

Detective Inspector Steve Walters said: “The people who’re responsible for the break-ins are confident and brazen, having on several occasions gone into properties where they know occupants are present and threatening them.

“Putting a stop to these offences and arresting suspects has been a priority for us since this crime pattern was identified."

“I know there’s been concern locally about the impact of these offences, particularly amongst members of the Asian community, given the nature of what has been taken by the burglars.”

He added: “We will be questioning those arrested throughout the day and I hope that people are reassured by the action we’ve taken this morning.”

Anyone with information which may assist the police investigation they should contact force CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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