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Crawley woman left shocked after being dragged along road by drive-by handbag thief

The 67-year-old woman was walking along Lady Margaret Road in Crawley, when a green VW Golf drove up alongside her.

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A woman from Crawley is recovering after a frightening experience in which she was dragged along a street by a car driver who eventually stole her handbag.

At 9.45pm on Monday (28 May), the 67-year-old woman was walking along Lady Margaret Road in Crawley, when a green VW Golf drove up alongside her.

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The driver initially asked her for directions, but he then leant out of the car and grabbed her handbag. As he drove away, she held on to the bag and was dragged along the road for an estimated 100 yards before having to let go.

The car sped away, its wheels spinning and leaving marks on the road.

The driver was a man and of black appearance, but there is no other description of him at this stage and no registration number for the car.

As well as being very shocked, the victim sustained cuts, bruising and grazing, and was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew but declined to go to hospital.

The handbag contained personal items and a small quantity of cash.

Detective Sergeant Ian Warncken of the Crawley Investigations Team said:

“This was a really distressing experience for the woman, who resisted bravely, but eventually had to let go before she became seriously injured.

“If you saw what happened or if you have any information as to who this man may be, please get in touch with us online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1452 of 28/05.

“You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Crime

Two jailed after attempt to smuggle 8.5kgs of cocaine through Gatwick

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK”, says Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South.

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The drugs, which had been wrapped in plastic and hidden inside boxes marked ‘rum’, weighed approximately 8.5kgs.

Two men from Barbados are facing a total of 13 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle an estimated 8.5kgs of cocaine into the UK.

On 1 September, Border Force officers stopped 62-year-old Grantley Herbert Thompson, and 30-year-old Jamal Ricardo Walcott, in the customs channels at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Both had arrived on a flight from Barbados.

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During a search of their baggage officers discovered a white powder, wrapped in green plastic, and hidden inside boxes marked rum. The powder was subsequently tested and gave a positive reaction to the field test for cocaine. The cocaine had an estimated street value of £535,000.

Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South said:

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK and I commend the Border Force officers whose work ensured that Thompson and Walcott are now behind bars.

“Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies. They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.

“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

The case was referred to the NCA and Thompson and Walcott were charged with importation of a class A drug.

62-year-old Grantley Thompson.

On Thursday, 11 October the pair appeared at Croydon Crown Court where they admitted the smuggling attempt. Both were sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment immediately.

30-year-old Jamal Walcott.

The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.

It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

Nationally, they use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling

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