Dangerous thieves who preyed on the elderly were among the offenders jailed for more than 60 years by a single Kent Police team in May 2021.

Fourteen offenders, who caused considerable distress, were imprisoned following successful investigations by the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad – a team of uniformed officers and detectives who primarily investigate burglary and robbery offences.

The total amount of time in sentences imposed was 63 years and eight months.

Detective Inspector Darren Reynolds, who leads the team, said: ‘Securing more than 60 years in prison sentences in the space of a month is a testament to the outstanding work our officers carry out on a daily basis.

‘The offenders we’ve locked up have shown exceptional levels of callousness and often see a person’s vulnerability as a motive to commit an offence.

‘We will never allow such offending to go unchallenged and will do everything in our power to support victims and pursue justice.

‘I’m glad to see that our expertise has helped us hold these criminals to account.’

Detective Inspector Darren Reynolds

Among those jailed in May is a man who broke into the same pensioner’s Wateringbury home on four different occasions. These offences led to the victim’s bank card being used in 11 fraudulent transactions and an investigation carried out by the Crime Squad resulted in the offender being jailed for three years.

Six years’ imprisonment was also imposed on a knifepoint robber who targeted a woman in her 60s while she walked in Lydd High Street.

In addition to offences being committed against the elderly, thieves who used weapons to threaten victims also received substantial prison sentences.

This includes three men who broke into three caravans at a site in Detling before threatening the occupants with a machete and an axe. They were jailed for more than 25 years between them.

Two men who posed as police officers to gain entry to a Gravesend home before they threatened a woman with a knife and demanded money were also jailed for 12 years between them. In addition to threatening the woman, they also entered a different home in the same town and robbed a man of cash

Over the same time period the team also made six new arrests and received authority to issue 21 new charges.

Among those charged are two Medway men who are alleged to have inflicted serious injuries on a man and a woman during an aggravated burglary in Dartford.

Both individuals have been remanded in custody to appear at Maidstone Crown Court in late June.

Two charges were also authorised against an Ashford man who is alleged to have failed to stop for officers after he was reportedly seen driving dangerously on the M20, near junction 8. He has received a summons to attend Maidstone Magistrates’ Court in early July.

Although the team have a proven track record of holding high harm offenders to account, prevention is always better than cure.

Residents who may be planning a break away from their home are therefore reminded that unoccupied homes can present an opportunity for an opportunistic thief.

DI Reynolds said: ‘With restrictions on our lives slowly easing, it is understandable that many of us will be keen to leave our homes and enjoy a change of scenery.

‘If you are going to leave your home unoccupied, for any period of time, please remember to ensure all windows and doors are fully locked, with garden tools also kept secure.

‘If you have the means to do so, it is also worth investing in timer switches which allow you to turn on lights, or a radio, to give the impression your home is occupied. Private security cameras are also a known deterrent.

‘These are all really simple steps but are often enough to deter a thief who would be seeking an opportunity to quickly enter and leave a building.

‘Burglary offences remain rare but if you are unfortunate enough to be targeted, you can be assured every reasonable line of enquiry will be followed to identify an offender.’

Detective Inspector Darren Reynolds

By Ed

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