Update (31st): Police have said another teenager has been arrested – making nine boys so far.
The 14-year-old boy from Crowborough was arrested late on Friday night (31st August) in connection with the incident at a convenience store in Farningham Road.
He was arrested on suspicion of burglary with intent to steal. He remains in custody. This is the second boy from Crowborough arrested in connection to the robbery.
The eight boys, range in age from 13 to 16. Seven are from Uckfield and one from Crowborough. They were arrested yesterday and today (30th/31st August) by police investigating a series of recent incidents in Crowborough and Uckfield.
One of the youths, a 14-year-old, was arrested in connection with the incident at the convenience store in Farningham Road on 24th August.
Three, all from Uckfield, aged 13, 14 and 16, were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit robbery in connection with the assault and robbery of a 14-year-old boy in Uckfield on 4th August.
A 14-year-old boy from Crowborough and four boys from Uckfield, one aged 14 and three aged 15, were all arrested on suspicion of a racially or religiously aggravated offence at a cafe in Uckfield on 25th August. The 14-year-old was further arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and burglary other than dwelling in connection with an incident at a convenience store in Farningham Road on 24th August.
The boys have been arrested but not charged. All eight have been bailed until 27th September while enquiries continue and have conditions not to associate with each other, not to attend carnivals in Uckfield or Crowborough, to observe a daily 9pm-7am curfew and not to attend the cafe in Uckfield or the store in Crowborough.
Inspector Jon Gross of the Wealden Prevention team said:
We are taking action to respond effectively to tackling crime, and the fear of crime, wherever it manifests itself in our communities. I understand the strength of feeling that can arise on the occasions when we cannot prevent, or respond immediately to some incidents, and more generally of the desire to see a visible police presence at all times.
While I recognise the desire of our communities to return to ward based officers and PCSOs, we are committed to addressing crime and disorder within our current structure. It is one that enables us to flex resources where significant issues and concerns arise. Prior to the recent spate of incidents generated by a few individuals, there has been a noticeable reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour across Wealden. This is, in some way, a vindication of the policing model.
The recent increase in the council tax precept means that additional officers will join our local prevention teams to increase visibility and accessibility, encouraging people to talk and share their knowledge of their neighbourhood and solve local community issues such as anti-social behaviour.