15 people arrested early yesterday morning (Tuesday July 9th) as part of an investigation into large scale thefts at Gatwick Airport have been released on bail while officers carry out further enquiries. More than 60 officers executed warrants from 4.00 am on Tuesday 9 July at homes across Sussex including Worthing as well as in Surrey and Kent.
The 14 men and a woman were arrested on suspicion after raids on homes in Crawley, Brighton, Worthing, Angmering, Bognor, Rustington, Horsham, Lingfield in Surrey and Gillingham in Kent.
Officers are still calculating exactly how much property was seized but it is clear that tens of thousands of pounds have been recovered as well as hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of duty free goods.
Among the items seized are thousands of bottles of perfume, tens of thousands of cigarettes and large quantities of alcohol, watches and jewellery.
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.
The operation runs with the support of Gate Gourmet, which alerted Sussex Police to the issue after discovering irregularities with its stock control systems.
The 15 people arrested have been bailed to return for further questioning to police stations across the south east on dates across August.