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Four men suspected of belonging to a group of criminals who carry out burglaries across the country and ship the stolen goods back to Eastern Europe were picked up by West Midlands Police on the M6 on Tuesday.

They were stopped by proactive traffic officers, on patrol in Walsall, in a transit van linked to several recent break-ins across the Newcastle borough.

The men who live in Walsall, aged 21, 28, 38 and 59, are currently in custody after being arrested on suspicion of committing burglaries in the Newcastle Borough area.

A necklace was found hidden inside the van whilst further searches of the men’s home address in Stafford Road, Walsall, uncovered a stash of jewellery also believed to have been swiped during burglaries.

West Midlands Police proactive traffic sergeant Phil Comerford, said: “This was a fantastic piece of intuitive police work by our officers: the van caught their eye, they believed it was being driven suspiciously, so they carried out checks and found it was wanted in connection with several burglaries.

“It’s suspected these men are part of a crime group operating across the region, maybe across the country, committing offences and shipping stolen property to Eastern Europe via Hull port. These are potentially very notable arrests and our colleagues in Staffordshire were very grateful to us for handing them over.”

Detectives from Staffordshire Police are expected to carry out further property searches and question the men on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle.

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