More than 100 charges were authorised against suspects investigated by the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad in November.

The county-wide team of detectives and police constables, who primarily investigate burglary and robbery offences, issued 104 charges across the month. Many of those charged have been remanded in custody, ahead of future court dates.

On top of the new charges, investigations carried out by the same team led to offenders being jailed for a combined total of 31 years and five months.

Detective Inspector Darren Reynolds, who leads the team, said: ‘Behind each of our cases is a victim of crime and it is exceptionally pleasing that my team’s work is achieving good results for them.

‘One thing that has really stood out this month is the emotive impact such offences can have on people. We are never blind to the impact a crime can have on those targeted and will always do everything in our power to protect them, provide reassurance and pursue justice.

Particularly harrowing offences

‘Some of the offenders we jailed last month committed particularly harrowing offences and I am pleased we have removed them from our streets. They are dangerous individuals whose actions have no place in a civilised society.’

In total the team made 17 new arrests last month. Among those detained, and promptly charged, is a Rochester man who is alleged to have been involved in two knife-point robberies in the town. He has been remanded in custody ahead of a crown court appearance in mid-December.

Similarly swift action was taken against a Strood man who is said to have snatched two rings from an elderly woman’s finger after he attended her address. He is also awaiting a court appearance later this month.

Elsewhere in the county, a man who is accused of robbing a Maidstone shop of whisky after he threatened an employee with a knife was charged and remanded in custody.

And in the East of the county, a man who is accused of burglaries committed across Ashford, Folkestone and Birchington was charged and remanded for eight offences.

Fifteen charges were also authorised against a woman who is alleged to have stolen phones and jewellery from locations across Tenterden, Canterbury, Whitstable, Maidstone and Dover. Like the other suspects, she is in custody awaiting a court hearing.

Prison sentences were also issued to unscrupulous robbers and armed burglars.

Among the more noteworthy results is the case against a Ramsgate man who pointed a loaded shotgun at a passing Kent Police patrol near the seafront. He was detained and has now been jailed for three years and nine months.

A burglar who broke into a Tonbridge home and threatened the occupants with a kitchen knife before going on the run was also brought to justice. He spent several months evading capture and taunted officers in a telephone call, telling them to ‘catch me if you can.’ The Crime Squad did catch him and he is now serving a prison sentence totalling five years and eight months.

A serial burglar who targeted homes in Strood, Chatham and Gravesend was also jailed for five-and-a-half years. In one of his offences, a woman inside a home had a pillow placed over her head before she was held down while co-offenders searched her home.  

As we now move into the festive season, the Crime Squad is keen to remind residents of some precautions they can take to help prevent them from becoming a victim of burglary – an offence that is known to increase at this time of the year.

DI Reynolds said: ‘Although our Christmas celebrations are going to look a bit different this year, with us all staying in much more than we usually would, December is known to be a time when burglars target homes.

‘Darker evenings and unoccupied properties can make a home an attractive target for a thief.

‘If you are leaving presents under the tree early, try to keep them out of obvious view and be cautious when you are disposing of packaging – a box for a high value electrical item, which has been left out for recycling, can tip-off an offender that there is a valuable item inside your home.

‘Also, remember to leave your lights on if you are leaving your home unoccupied at night. Timer switches in particular are a really good tool that give the impression you are in.’ 

By Ed

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