Police investigating a spate of Asian golf thefts today arrested a gang of gypsies in a series of dramatic dawn raids.
Around 100 officers stormed nine addresses at 5am after the valuable jewellery was targeted in a total of 70 burglaries across the Midlands.
Three men, aged 21, 24 and 25, were arrested at a travellers site in Wolverhampton and another 48-year-old man was held at a house eight miles away.
Pictures released yesterday by West Midlands Police shows the moment the suspects were lead away from their caravans in handcuffs.
The four are suspected of being involved in the huge spree across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire in which tens of thousands worth of jewellery was stolen.
Officers from West Mercia, West Midlands and Staffordshire Police carried out the co-ordinated raids along with the National Police Air Service.
Yesterday Detective Inspector Steve Walters, from West Midlands Police, said: “The people who’re responsible for the break-ins are confident and brazen, having on several occasions gone into properties where they know occupants are present and threatening them.
“Putting a stop to these offences and arresting suspects has been a priority for us since this crime pattern was identified.
“I know there’s been concern locally about the impact of these offences, particularly amongst members of the Asian community, given the nature of what has been taken by the burglars.
“We will be questioning those arrested throughout the day and I hope that people are reassured by the action we’ve taken this morning.
“Despite what appears to be an alarming number of burglaries, the numbers must be seen in the context of an overall reduction in offences.
“Crime continues to fall in the West Midlands and there’s been a reduction in the number of house burglaries of 13 per cent since the start of the year, equating to 38 fewer victims.”
The prolonged spate of burglaries began last October when the robbers forced their way into homes across the West Midlands and threatened those inside – including the home of a 90-year-old woman.
The group targeted mostly rural properties in a series of raids that lasted until February.
Officers also arrested two teens found at the address in the Heath Town area of Wolverhampton, after it was realised they were wanted in connection with aggravated burglary offences in South Wales.
The other man was arrested at a house in Kingswinford, West Mids.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Birmingham CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.