Armed gang stealing cash and smokes from local shops. Police want to know who is trading stolen goods .
Police want to know where stolen cigarettes are being sold on following a series of armed robberies and burglaries against local convenience stores.
Shops in Eastleigh, Southampton, Romsey, North Baddesley, and Totton have already been targeted and each time, a group of three or four people enter the stores with their faces covered, threaten staff and steal cash and a large amount cigarettes. The cigarettes are put into large rubble bags.
The gang usually strike at opening times or early evening and have used stolen vehicles to get away. So far Police have been unable to stop the gang and are appealing for information from the public to help trace the stolen goods.
Detective Inspector Colin White said:
“We believe the cigarettes being taken are the main objective of this group to sell on and make quick money. That would not be happening if those receiving it were not complicit in handling these stolen items and selling them on themselves. We are concerned that a few local shops are accepting this stolen stock and selling it on for own personal gain whilst putting other convenience store owners at risk of robbery because of it.
“We also want to ask the public if anyone has noticed any convenience stores selling cigarettes at an usual price or you have noticed they have a large amount of one particular brand and not another. We need to know where the products are going.
“Lastly, I want to say that although these robberies are committed against shops, we know that they have a serious impact on members of our community going about their daily work.
“We want to know who is responsible for these crimes.”
Information can be passed on to the police by phoning 101 quoting ‘Operation Assessment” or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111