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Worthing man jailed for part in auction house raids
10:45am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
A Worthing man has become the last member of an organised criminal gang that burgled antiques from auction houses to be convicted.
The gang was led by career criminal Darryl Aldridge, 48, of New Barn Road, Shoreham, who organised burglaries at auction houses and private homes.
Police told how he researched and selected high-value antiques on auction room websites and would send out criminal associates to carry out the burglaries in Sussex, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Kent.
Aldridge was convicted and jailed for more than ten years in March after a six-week trial at Brighton Crown Court.
The last member Anthony Fortune, 55, of Park Road, Worthing, was convicted after admitting perverting the course of justice at Hove Crown Court on Monday, September 2.
Fortune was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.
Aldridge’s co-defendant, Anthony Townsend, 50, of Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, was found guilty of burglary and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Kelly Lambert, 40, of Lavender Hill, Shoreham, pleaded guilty to theft at Toovey’s Auctions, Washington, near Storrington, which was arranged by Aldridge and was given a community service.
The convictions follow an 18-month investigation by the Sussex Police Serious Organised Crime Unit.
Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton said: “This was an outstanding investigation by members of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit and their professionalism and hard work was recognised with the award of a court commendation.
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“With these individuals now behind bars we have significantly disrupted the group’s activities and dismantled the crime group.
“We will continue to actively pursue those involved in serious and organised crime and ensure they are brought to justice.”
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