Pair from Bognor Regis arrested in airport crackdown

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A MAN and woman from Bognor Regis have been arrested in a crackdown on thefts at Gatwick Airport.

A total of 15 people were arrested by police as part of an investigation into large scale thefts at the airport.

The 48-year-old man and 21-year-old woman from the town are among those detained

More than 60 officers executed warrants from 4am today (July 9) at homes across Sussex as well as in Surrey and Kent.

Tens of thousands of pounds in cash as well as large amounts of jewellery, watches, cigarettes, perfume and red diesel have been recovered.

The investigation, codenamed Operation Ottawa, is aimed at tackling the theft of hundreds of thousands of pounds of duty free items at Gatwick before they could be put on flights and sold.

Warrants were executed in Crawley, Brighton, Worthing, Angmering, Bognor, Rustington, Horsham, Lingfield in Surrey and Gillingham in Kent.

The 15 people arrested are being held at police stations across the south east on suspicion of theft.

The operation is being run with the support of Gate Gourmet, which alerted Sussex Police to the issue after discovering irregularities with its stock control systems.

Detective Inspector Rob McPhilemy said: “The execution of the warrants today is the result of a long-running investigation into the theft of large amounts of duty free goods at Gatwick Airport before they could be sold.

“Intelligence that our officers have collected over several months has led to the arrests and seizures of items worth tens of thousands of pounds this morning.

“I would also like to thank Gate Gourmet staff for their co-operation during the planning and execution of this operation.”