England

'Night Watcher': Violent armed burglar still at large

Armed "ex-military" burglar in Maidenhead Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Police issued grainy CCTV stills of the man during an armed raid of a house in Maidenhead

An armed burglar who stole more than £10m worth of items in violent raids is still at large more than a year after his last offence, police have said.

The so-called Night Watcher was initially thought to be behind seven aggravated house burglaries across south-east England.

Det Ch Insp Mark Preston, of Surrey Police, said a further five offences were also now being linked.

He said since an appeal last year 224 persons of interest had been ruled out.

No arrests have been made.

The 12 offences across Surrey, Sussex, Thames Valley and Kent occurred between 2006 and October 2017.

The suspect, nicknamed the Night Watcher by some newspapers, is believed to be ex-military and carried out the raids with a sawn-off shotgun.

He staked out expensive properties, appeared to be aware of their layouts, who was at home and the location of valuables.

All the items stolen were expensive jewellery and watches.

Det Ch Insp Preston said officers working on the police investigation dubbed Operation Prometheus had reviewed more than 10,000 documents since last year's public appeal.

Officers had also liaised with forces and specialist agencies across the country.

He said all the burglaries were "very selective" with similarities including the use of cable ties, the "commanding nature" of the offender, and the possession of a sawn-off shotgun.

He added there had been no offences which could be linked to the same suspect since October 2017.

Who is the 'Night Watcher'?

Police say they are looking for a man who:

  • Is white
  • Has a stocky/muscular build
  • Is about 6ft (1.8m) tall
  • Speaks with a South of England accent
  • Is a lone man
  • May have specialist knowledge and skills
  • Uses a sawn off shotgun and violence to threaten victims
  • Appears aware of the layout of houses, who is at home and location of safes/valuables

Burglaries: Where and when

  • 12 November 2014 - Kingswood, Surrey
  • 21 January 2015 - Maidenhead area, Berkshire
  • 13 January 2016 - Chichester area, Sussex
  • 22 November 2016 - Sevenoaks area, Kent
  • January 2017 - Maidstone area, Kent
  • 24 April 2017 - Virginia Water area, Surrey
  • 26 October 2017 - Kingswood, Surrey

The five new offences all took place in Surrey between 2006 and 2015, but no further details have been released.

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