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Kent police bust tool theft ring

7 May Thanks to a single power tool fitted with a tracking device, police have made seven arrests made and recovered more than 1,000 items in Kent.

Police with their haul
Police with their haul

A repeated victim of tool theft decided to attach trackers to his tools. When a drill went missing, he persuaded the police to act.

The search for the tagged item resulted in officers uncovering one of their largest ever hauls of suspected stolen items.

Officers from Kent Police’s Rural Task Force obtained and executed a warrant, assisted by colleagues from Thames Valley Police, at an address in Swattenden, near Cranbrook, just after 7.30am on Friday 26th April 2024

As well as hundreds of power tools, they recovered items including four vehicles, a quad bike and six caravans suspected to be stolen from locations as far afield as Bristol, Wales, Southampton and Staffordshire, as well as neighbouring Sussex.

Once officers have finished cataloguing the recovered items, it is believed that their combined value will exceed £500,000.

Five local men, aged between 18 and 44, were arrested alongside a 19-year-old woman and 17-year-old boy on suspicion of multiple offences relating to theft. They have since been bailed pending further investigations.

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Police Sergeant Ross Haybourne of the Rural Task Force said: “We hope to reunite as many of the items as we can with their rightful owners as soon as possible. Officers are in the process of cataloguing the suspected stolen items and a comprehensive list will be released to the public in due course. Anyone wishing to claim items listed will need to provide proof of ownership or proof of purchase.

“We anticipate this to take a considerable amount of time and thank the public in advance for their patience while we undertake the task.

“Any tradespeople or those in possession of power tools are advised to mark their property, take photographs, and record serial numbers so that, in the event of theft, officers have more chance of returning property. We also advise reporting any thefts in a timely manner, providing as much detail as possible.”

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