A mammoth series of raids took place yesterday morning (FEB 26) across Kent involving more than 200 officers to crack down on railway thieves.

Operation Illinois targeted 20 addresses in the Dartford, Gravesend, Chatham and Gillingham areas and saw 23 people were arrested in connection with theft-related offences.

Police will also investigate further into suspected burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour in these properties.

Around 140 British Transport Police (BTP) officers and 75 Kent Police officers carried out the raids.

BTP’s Superintendent Jason Bunyard, said: "The operation targeted individuals suspected of stealing property from passengers travelling on late night trains from London towards Kent and Sussex.

"Theft not only has a financial impact on a victim but can affect them emotionally too.

News Shopper: Dartford and Gravesend properties raided by Kent Police in massive operation

"BTP and Kent Police take theft extremely seriously and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice."

Supt Bunyard explained how mobile phone technology could help track down stolen items.

He said: "Installing a tracker application on your smartphone could help trace your device if it’s stolen.

"Unsurprisingly, mobile phones are a popular target for thieves, so try to keep yours hidden."

"Remember to keep your valuables hidden if you’re going to sleep and always zip up any hand or shoulder bags."

Detective Chief Inspector Ann Lisseman, who leads Kent Police’s burglary and vehicle crime unit in north Kent, said: "Officers working together from both forces executed early morning warrants across Kent and made a number of arrests.

"Detectives from Kent Police will carry out further investigations into suspected burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour in relation to those properties."

For more information, visit btp.police.uk/advice_and_information