Five men have been sentenced to more than 25 years in prison between them for conspiracy to commit 29 residential burglaries across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, London and Surrey.
Three of the men had only been in the UK a few months and immediately startled to burgle affluent homes.
The initial arrest came about on Monday 6 January 2020 whilst Hertsmere Scorpion officers were on proactive patrol and spotted a vehicle that was believed to be connected to a dwelling burglary.
With assistance from the Mobile Scorpion Team, the Road Policing Unit, Essex Police, the Metropolitan Police Service and the National Police Air Service (NPAS), the vehicle was pursued into London where it was eventually forced to stop on the A406 and the men arrested.
Detective Constable Paul Cullinan of Hertfordshire’s Specialist Investigation Team took over the onward investigation.
Over the following months whilst the suspects, who are all Chilean nationals, were on remand in prison, DC Cullinan built a compelling case to reflect the totality of this team’s offending.
Hertfordshire offences were identified in Welwyn, Letchworth, Hertford, Elstree and Rickmansworth along with multiple offences in London, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
The burglars would predominantly target large houses in order to steal jewellery.
Some stolen jewellery was recovered from the defendants upon arrest, and two other large hauls of jewellery were recovered from a river in Walthamstow. Much of this was identified and returned to the rightful owners.
All five, who had previously pleaded guilty to their parts of the conspiracy, appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday (18 August), where HHJ Grey, having taken into account early guilty pleas, sentenced as follows:
- Alexis Castro, aged 38, of no fixed abode, was jailed for five years six months.
- Christian Rubio, aged 39, of no fixed abode was jailed for five years.
- Carlos Aranis, aged 31, of no fixed abode, was jailed for five years.
- Mario Fernandez-Garrido, aged 34, of no fixed abode, was jailed for four years ten months.
- Sergio Saravia, aged 38, of no fixed abode, was jailed for five years nine months.
At the end of their sentences, the men will be deported.
DC Cullinan said: “We’re delighted these men have been taken off the streets and will no longer pose a threat to our communities.
“These men had been in the country for only a matter of months and appeared to have immediately started targeting affluent homes in order to steal jewellery.
“The issue of ‘crime tourism’ is recognised by the police, and we work extremely hard to bring those responsible to justice.”