15 arrested over Gatwick Airport thefts released on bail

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Fifteen people arrested as part of an investigation into large scale thefts at Gatwick Airport have been released on bail while officers carry out further inquiries.

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

The 14 men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of theft after raids were carried out in Horsham, Crawley, Brighton, Worthing, Angmering, Bognor, Rustington, Lingfield in Surrey and Gillingham in Kent.

Officers are still calculating exactly how much property was seized as part of the operation 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 is being run 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.