Three men who were part of a gang that committed 18 burglaries in West Sussex have been jailed for 21 years.
A Sussex Police spokesman said Tomas Paulavicius, 36, Dainius Gastilavicius, 39, and Arturas Malysovas, 21, were sentenced on Tuesday (January 26) after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglaries in Devon and Sussex.
The trio was part of an organised criminal gang travelling across the country committing similar break-ins.
A police spokesman said members had broken into 18 homes in Bognor, Horsham, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath.
Tomas was senteced to eight years, Dainius was given seven years and Arturas was jailed for six years at Exeter Crown Court.
Detective Constable James Wadley of the Sussex Police Priority Crime Team said: “This was a complex and worthwhile investigation in which we worked closely with our colleagues in Devon and Cornwall Police.
“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.”
The Sussex burglaries were, in August 2014, two in Andrew Avenue, Bognor, in Drake Park, Bognor and in Mansfield Road, Bognor; in Horsham in January 2015, Falklands Drive, Patchings and Cootes Avenue; in Churchill Avenue, Horsham in February 2015; and in March 2015, in The Warren, Burgess Hill, The Ridings Burgess Hill, in Farlington Avenue, Haywards Heath and three in Horsham, in Vale Drive, Rusper Road and Rushams Road.
Devon and Cornwall Police launched an investigation into a series of burglaries in 2014.
Police identified 23 victims of the crimes where intruders gained entry after UPVC door locks were snapped.
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.”
The offenders were identified and West Sussex Priority Crime Team of Sussex Police joined the investigation.
Detectives launched a nationwide appeal after officers recovered stolen memory cards which contained a burglary victim’s holiday snaps at Paulavicius’ home in June 2015.
A female victim, from Lincolnshire, was reunited with her stolen property after police released the images on social media.
Detective Constable James Wadley of the Sussex Police Priority Crime Team said: “Identifying the owner of the memory card was key linking the offenders to the series of burglaries.”
A spokesman said: “Sussex Police have set up Operation Magpie to combat burglaries across the county. An 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.”
The photographs on the memory cards were taken on holiday in Koh Sumai, Thailand.
Police released the images in a bid to find three potential victims of crime.
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