Three men were jailed for a total of 21 years at Exeter Crown Court on Tuesday 26 January 26 after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglaries in Devon and Sussex, including four in Bognor Regis.
Tomas Paulavicius, 36 (pictured left), was sentenced to eight years in prison, Dainius Gastilavicius, 39 (centre), was given seven years, and Arturas Malysovas, 21 (pictured right), was sentenced to six years in prison.
Devon and Cornwall Police led the lengthy investigation working closely with the West Sussex Priority Crime Team of Sussex Police, with offences being committed in South, Mid and East Devon, and West Sussex.
The investigation began in 2014 after a series of specific burglaries were identified by Devon and Cornwall Police, in which UPVC door locks were snapped to enable the offenders to get into the property.
Detective Constable James Brice, based in Totnes, said: “The offenders, who were all living in East London, were identified by local officers.
“It became clear that this was national problem as the three men were part of an organised criminal gang travelling across the country committing similar offences.”
Twenty three victims of these specific types of burglaries where identified across Devon.
Once the offenders were identified, a joint investigation with Sussex Police began, resulting in the convictions and sentencings at Exeter Crown Court.
In June 2015 detectives launched a nationwide appeal to trace three potential victims of crime after memory cards were recovered during the investigation at Paulavicius’ home.
Photographs taken on holiday in Koh Sumai, Thailand, were released of potential victims officers were keen to identify.
Following the successful appeal on social media, the woman in the photographs, from Lincolnshire, contacted police.
She had been the victim of a burglary and was subsequently reunited with her stolen property.
The Sussex burglaries were;
Aug 2014 - Four in Bognor, two in Andrew Avenue, one in Drake Park and one in Mansfield Road;
Jan 2015 - three in Horsham - Falklands Drive, Patchings, and Cootes Avenue;
Feb 2015 - one in Churchill Avenue, Horsham
March 2015 - two in Burgess Hill, at The Warren and The Ridings, one in Farlington Avenue, Haywards Heath, and three in Horsham, at Vale Drive, Rusper Road and Rushams Road.
Detective Constable James Wadley of the Sussex Police Priority Crime Team added: “This was a complex and worthwhile investigation in which we worked closely with our colleagues in Devon and Cornwall Police. Identifying the owner of the memory card was key linking the offenders to the series of burglaries.
“This guilty verdict will bring some reassurance and peace of mind to the victims who suffered a very traumatic experience, and in some cases, lost sentimental valuables that have been irreplaceable.”
Sussex Police have set up Operation Magpie to combat burglaries across the county.
A 11 per cent reduction in burglaries in Sussex in calendar year 2015, against the same period for 2014, has seen 290 fewer victims of burglaries in their homes and 640 fewer victims of other burglaries at businesses, garages and outbuildings.
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