The police believe that the gangs are now travelling large distances from their home areas to target c-stores. Forces in counties across the area are now combining to track vehicles belonging to suspected gang members.
Following the latest raid on a Budgens store in Holt, Norfolk, police used car number plate recognition equipment and helicopters at county borders in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to pinpoint possible suspects.
Lincolnshire police chief inspector Kieran English, who commanded the operation, said: “They’re travelling far and wide to steal 4x4s to target stores. We have the information on some of these people, such as the vehicles they drive. We know who they are, we know what cars they drive and what roads they use.”