Four suspected thieves were due to appear in court in connection with a series of burglaries at six auction houses in the south of England last year.
Two thefts took place at Gorringes in Lewes,
East Sussex, in May and June; three at Toovey's in Washington, West
Sussex, in May, June and October; one at Denhams in Warnham, West
Sussex, in July; one at Concord in Cranbrook, Kent, in June; one at
Stroud Auctions in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in October; and another
at JS Auctions in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in July.
Items stolen included antique clocks,
jewellery, vases, figurines and furniture, with an estimated value
of £200,000. Sussex police say property to the value of £160,000
has been recovered so far.
Darryl Aldridge, 46, of Shoreham by Sea,
West Sussex, was due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on
Thursday, June 14, following an investigation by the Serious
Organised Crime Unit of Sussex police. He is charged with the nine
burglaries mentioned, and is also charged with possession of
cannabis and amphetamine, and conspiracy to pervert the course of
justice in relation to the burglary in Stroud.
Kelly Lambert, 39, also of Shoreham, has
been charged with theft at Toovey's in October 2011. Anthony
Townsend, 49, of Brighton, has been charged with the burglary at
Stroud Auctions. Anthony Fortune, 54, of Worthing, West Sussex, has
been charged with perverting the course of justice.
Lambert, Townsend and Fortune were also due
to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on June 14.
Alan Topping, 49, of Hove, West Sussex,
pleaded guilty at Northern Oxfordshire Crown Court in January this
year to the Cranbrook and Banbury burglaries and was sentenced to
26 months imprisonment. Another man was acquitted of the Cranbrook
Luke Hammond, 21, of Portslade, East Sussex,
was convicted at Northern Oxfordshire Crown Court in April this
year of the Banbury burglary and was sentenced to a community
Ashley Symes, 45, of Horsham, West Sussex, was convicted at
Lewes Crown Court in February this year of the burglary at
Gorringes in June 2011 and was sentenced to four years imprisonment
for that and other unrelated offences.