IN a spectacular combined operation, 600 officers from the Guardia Civil and National Police raided 39 properties in different locations, arresting 53 people and recovering stolen goods estimated as having a value of €3 million.
Following a spate of robberies around Spain, intelligence suggested that a major gang was involved in undertaking the break-ins using different groups who would travel to pre-agreed areas to undertake the burglaries.
As investigations continued it was established that each cell had been allocated an area to target with the main robberies taking place in Ciudad Real, Toledo, Madrid, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Cáceres, Segovia, Leon, Valladolid, Burgos and Palencia.
The robbers would travel large distances (on one occasion more than 1,000 kilometres) using different cars and drivers and, after leaving their passengers at pre-identified target properties, would move to service areas or even nearby towns to avoid suspicion, before returning to pick up their partners and the stolen goods.
Other members of the gang were responsible for selling on stolen property and yet others for money laundering but all appeared to enjoy a high standard of living whilst following set rules to try to avoid detection.
As the raids took place, so huge numbers of stolen goods of all types were discovered and these will be available to view after contacting the Guardia Civil station at Manzanares or the National Police station at Ciudad Real.
Along with expensive vehicles, the officers found €260,000 in cash and are satisfied that they have identified goods from 108 robberies but believe that the final count will point to at least 500 burglaries undertaken by this gang.
Of those arrested, 47 of them were Romanians, five were Spaniards and one was Moroccan, whilst an additional 20 people were interviewed but not detained.