Five suspected burglars have been arrested in a series of dawn raids across Wolverhampton this morning (Monday 20 March).
As part of our 50 days of action, officers from Staffordshire and West Midlands Police joined forces to simultaneously swoop on the gang, believed to be responsible for 70 crimes across both counties.
When the crime spree started in June last year detectives worked quickly to use CCTV footage, forensic evidence and other information to link the offences.
In most of the crimes thieves would break into the factories and stores via the roof. Once inside safes were plundered.
Around £500,000 is believed to have been stolen from businesses as far afield as Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Wombourne.
Forty officers from both forces were involved in the sting which is designed to combat a rise in burglary rates.
Detective Inspector Clair Langley, from Staffordshire Police led the operation. She said: "These raids are the result of a lot of hard work. Officers from both forces have worked tirelessly to piece together all of the facts.
"The crimes have had a devastating impact on the staff who work at the targeted businesses. They have taken it extremely personally, particularly the volunteers at the charity shops which were raided.
"Days of valuable trade have been lost and funds which should be supporting the needy, sick and dying have now been diverted into repairing the thousands of pounds worth of damage caused."
The five men arrested are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle. They include a 22-year-old from Tithe Croft, Heath Town; 26-year-old from Moseley Road, Bilston; 26-year-old from Foster Road, Low Hill; 47-year-old from Willenhall Road, Willenhall; and a 29-year-old man from Croft Lane, Low Hill.
The latest raids are just part of the fightback which includes the use of capture houses - homes taken over by police and fitted with tiny CCTV cameras and infrared sensors designed to catch criminals in the act.