Detectives who nailed a £2m burglary gang have managed to reunite over 100 owners, including some from Bedfordshire, with valuable items the gang stole during an 11-month crime spree.
The 12 members of the extended-family gang, including a 19-year-old from Sandy, have been jailed for a total of 71 years for raiding up to 250 properties across five counties.
Rolex watches, diamond rings and coins are among “thousands of items” police are trying to reunite with their owners.
Police said 19 people have been reunited with their property so far.
However, they admitted that “eventually we will need to sell items that aren’t claimed”.
The robberies were in homes across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The men, aged 20 to 55, were jailed for a total of 71 years at Norwich Crown Court last month and police are now hoping to return the items to their rightful owners.
Sentencing the thieves, Judge Stephen Holt said: “I don’t think I’ve ever come across as serious a conspiracy to burgle in terms of the sheer amounts stolen, the number of properties broken into and most importantly the lives left devastated by people having their homes invaded and damaged by you.”
After they were sentenced, Cambridgeshire Police released images of the items recovered and published them on its website.
But Det Con Susan Burberry said there were likely to have been more as she claimed the gang melted items down in order to sell the metal.
Since appealing for owners to come forward at the beginning of the month, police have received 116 inquiries.
One person has been reunited with their property and they hoping to return goods to eight others. Property was returned to a further 18 people earlier in the investigation.
Det Con Burberry said: “We want to keep the appeal going for as long as possible in order to identify as many owners as we can.”