Seven years

Seven years for Small Dole timber fraud

[Robert] Austin was a director of a company within the Mackintosh and Partners group, a timber firm based in Small Dole, near Brighton and in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, of which his father was the owner.

“Austin stole £2.6m from the group of companies between 2002 and 2008, falsifying records required for accounting purposes in order to do so,” said detective constable Dan Clark of the Sussex Police major fraud unit.

The firm went into liquidation as a direct result of the losses. It was an otherwise profitable company which had successfully traded for some 70 years.

The company had been one of southern England’s leading manufacturers of planed and moulded timber.

Cold call burglaries

Cold-callers linked to 26 burglaries in the region
Sussex Police report:

Since August there have been 26 break-ins at towns and villages across the Horsham district that detectives believe have been committed by the same people. The offences began in August in Storrington but have spread to Coolham, Henfield, Steyning, Horsham, Pulborough, Bramber, Billingshurst, Kirdford, West Chiltington and Ashurst as well as Petworth in the Chichester district. The thieves have escaped with jewellery, cash and unusual household ornaments.

Katy Wood, from the Operation Magpie team, said: “We believe the offenders could be cold-calling at homes to try to work out who is in and whether they are likely to have valuables. We think they are then returning when no one is home — perhaps because the residents have told them they won’t be there — and breaking in”.

The victims closest to Fulking were located at Broomfield Road in Henfield, Kings Barn Lane in Steyning, Maudlyn Park in Bramber, and School Lane in Ashurst.

Changing numberplates

Silver Audi A3
Please look out for a silver Audi A3 and/or a blue Ford Mondeo acting suspiciously.

A gang of burglars have attacked 40+ houses between 15:00 and midnight, across Mid-Sussex (mainly), East Sussex and Surrey, on 14 dates in October and November. They use lockup garages to store these cars (with no numberplates). They then steal numberplates from cars with the correct model/colours, use the stolen numberplates, commit burglaries, ditch the stolen numberplates, and hide the unmarked cars to use again.

If you see such a car that seems to have changed its numberplates, or your car has lost its numberplates, please phone Police on 101 (the non-emergency number). Or if you find dumped numberplates. If you think you’re seeing a burglary in progress, or about to happen, phone 999.

Oh — and there’s a £10,000 reward for a tip that leads to a successful conviction…

Richard Corner [219]

All Saints’ Eve

Trick or treat banner
The Surrey and Sussex Police Force Art Departments have jointly developed two posters that you can access by clicking the banner above. Print them out and put one in the bin. Pin the other to your door or gate. Alternative strategies for keeping trick-or-treaters at bay tomorrow evening may occur to you but such strategies do not have police approval.

Stolen!

Black Range Rover
A new black Range Rover was stolen from Yew Tree Cottage last night. Contact the police now if you saw anything that might be relevant. And don’t leave your car keys on the kitchen table when you go to bed tonight.

Richard Corner (219) adds:

Did you see a black Range Rover, in convoy with a second car, between 10:00om on Thursday 25th and 6:00am on Friday 26th September? If so, please phone Sussex Police on the non-emergency number (101), reference 0251 of 26th September.

The car may be hidden in the countryside somewhere. It was FR11 STY, but the plates have probably been removed by now. If you see such a car, phone 101. If you happen to see anyone near it, then phone 999.

Nikki Frost adds:

[The burglars] entered the house through a small window taking phones, car, wallet and other bits while the whole family slept up stairs.

Sussex Police add:

A black Range Rover Sport worth more than £60,000 was stolen from the Poynings area north of Brighton between 10:30 pm on Thursday (25 September) and 7:10am the next day. The vehicle, registration FR11 STY, has distinctive, non-standard brown leather upholstery. One line of enquiry being followed by police is that it may have been stolen to order. The car’s owner is in the motor trade and other dealers have been notified of the theft.

Updated: 1st October.