Haulier in thefts probe

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A haulier was arrested and charged following a dawn raid on his suburban home as part of a probe into a national conspiracy to steal from heavy goods vehicles.

Graham Ascroft, of Higher Lane, Holmes, Tarleton, Preston, is among five men who were charged by police from Kent, following early morning warrants in Dover and the north west on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old is charged as part of an alleged conspiracy following dawn raids by detectives investigating thefts of, and thefts from, heavy goods vehicles.

Officers swooped on his home as simultaneous raids took place at 13 other properties in Dover, Merseyside, and North Wales.

The operation followed a 12 month investigation carried out by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

During the same day of action, Lee Henley Gilmore, 32, of Spring Wood Grove, Kirby, Liverpool, and Jeffrey Hamid, 31, of Hargate Road, Liverpool were also charged with conspiracy to steal and have been remanded in custody.

They are due to appear alongside Ascroft at a preliminary hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on July 30.

Darren John Michael Price, 39, previously of Rye Grove, West Derby, Liverpool, has been charged with conspiracy to steal and is bailed to July 30.

John Dahl, 43, of Aysgarth Avenue, Liverpool, has been charged with the same offence and will appear before magistrates on Thursday July 17.

Two men aged 46 and 44 from the Merseyside area have been arrested and bailed pending further enquiries.

A Kent Police spokesman said: “An investigation is continuing.”

Ascroft is father to triplet sons Robert, John and Bradley.

He has held positions as director and company secretary at several firms based in Tarleton over the last 20 years.