Police seek sweet-toothed choc thieves

Exmouth police are appealing for help tracing the gang who stole hundreds of pounds worth of chocolate in a Littleham shop raid.

Sweet-toothed thieves, who stole hundreds of pounds of chocolate in an organised raid at Littleham, have sparked a police investigation.

The chocoholics targeted the Littleham Cross Co-op last week and cleared the store of around �600 worth of chocolate within minutes.

The police have released CCTV images of a number of people they believe could hold information in relation to the crime.

Officers are calling the gang ‘professional chocolate thieves’ after studying the store’s CCTV footage.

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The police believe the theft is linked to a similar incident in the city when, in August, chocolate worth �540 was stolen from a Co-op in Exeter’s Sidwell Street.

Police Constable Adam Johnson, of Exmouth CID, is keen to hear from anyone with information about the thefts. He said the gang members, thought to be in their early 20s, could be selling the goods.

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PC Johnson said around 150 large bars of Cadbury chocolate and about 60 bars of Galaxy chocolate were loaded into the gang’s bags at Exmouth on Wednesday, November 9, between 3.30pm and 3.40pm.

PC Johnson said: “They are like a plague of locusts. The bags are filled to capacity. They are professional chocolate thieves.

“I have seen serious crimes on CCTV before and this is very well orchestrated - I have seen less-organised armed robbers.

“I have got no idea what they are doing with it. It’s a bit odd.”

PC Johnson said the four-strong gang, carrying rucksacks and bags, worked together immediately on entering the store.

He said the gang positioned themselves around the shop to avoid detection, posing as customers or acting as lookouts.

PC Johnson said: “They go into the shop individually, one every 30 seconds, or one a minute.

“One goes to the rear of the shop. One will stand on one corner or near the cashier to see where the staff are - then one will stand in the aisle so people can’t get past easily - almost like a triangle.

“One will be doing the nicking – pulling the products to the front of the shelves and stacking it up so it’s all nice and neat. So when they are ready, they can take it with the minimum effort.

“They get it to the front of the shelf and there’s nothing left at the back. They can literally take 10 bars at a time.”

Can you help police with information or identify the people in the CCTV images? Contact PC Johnson on 101, quoting crime reference KE/11/2924.

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