Camera records shoplifting gang’s four-minute raid

CAUGHT ON CAMERA CCTV images of the raid at Escape
CAUGHT ON CAMERA CCTV images of the raid at Escape
One of the seven stolen signs from the Isle of Wight. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

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AN organised crime gang took just four minutes to steal clothes worth £2,600 from a shop in a whirlwind raid.

The trio plundered bags full of Armani and Stone Island jeans and Stone Island jumpers from Escape in Spring Street, Landport, Portsmouth.

But they were caught on camera as one of the men distracted a worker while the other two quickly shoved the goods into bags.

Then despite setting off the alarms, the fast-acting gang managed to escape with their high-value haul.

Now police from Portsmouth’s city centre unit have released these CCTV images of the suspects.

They are urging the public to shop the men if they recognise them – warning next time they could be the victims if the gang are not caught.

The call comes as city centre police officers plan to launch a month-long crackdown on organised crime gangs in the city.

As reported in The News, officers will lie in wait and scan the licence plate of every vehicle travelling in and out of Portsmouth as well as city centre car parks.

Using specialist equipment they will be able to instantly check whether the vehicle or its registered driver is linked to crime.

Sergeant Rob Sutton from Portsmouth’s city centre unit said: ‘This was an organised crime, committed by at least one local male.

‘If you have been offered this property and bought it in good faith I’d ask that you contact the city centre unit or Crimestoppers.

‘These males have ripped you off by selling you stolen goods. If you recognise these men please, do the right thing, call us.

‘If it’s not the shops they’re stealing in it might be your house – let’s not let them get away with it.’

A new CCTV system complete with infrared cameras has been installed since the theft, which happened between 1.09pm and 1.13pm on January 12. Police have only just released details of the crime.

There are now extra cameras in place in the Spring Street store.

Paul Khatkar from Escape said: ‘Unfortunately that day we were short-staffed.

‘One of the men came into the shop and asked for a pair of shoes.

‘The shop assistant went to the stock room and left him on his own. He signalled to the other two to come in and they filled bags up and walked out. It was so quick.

‘The alarm went off when they walked out of the door but they just carried on. As they went out, the shop assistant had just come out of the back.’

Call Portsmouth city centre unit with on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555111.