Prolific car crime gang jailed
A criminal gang has been jailed for a total of more than 21 years for stealing Land Rovers to order in an organised racket which netted £1m.
The gang targeted farmers and builders living in rural communities in the Harborough area and beyond, taking the 4X4s which would then sold by a business based in Birmingham.
One woman and five men were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday for 11 separate offences including conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to convert criminal property and concealing criminal property.
The police investigation revealed the ring-leaders had made £1m from the conspiracy over a five year period.
The court heard one of the gang - 29-year-old Andra Hoyland, of Northampton Road, Broughton - would break into the vehicles and start them up.
A second man - Del Swane (50), of Cardigan Place, Kettering - would then drive them to the handler, Martin Warren, who ran a business in Birmingham specialising in the sale of Land Rovers and parts.
Warren was at the centre of the operation, the court heard. His partner Jacqueline Neal ran the family accounts with their son Christopher Neal. Their other son, Jason Warren, helped run the business.
During the investigation, officers found that over £1 million had been deposited in the accounts of Jacqueline and Christopher Neal between 2005 and 2010.
A total of £32,500 was also recovered from a safe in the house.
Parts belonging to two stolen Land Rovers, valued at £28,000 each, were recovered from the family business, as well as over £400,000 worth of other Land Rover parts.
The gang was caught after a police operation which began in August 2010.
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said: “In my recently published Police and Crime Plan, I’ve placed strong emphasis on reducing vehicle crime and targeting rural crime.
“Sentences such as those handed out today demonstrate our commitment to targeting criminals who think they can benefit from taking things from others, and in particular targeting those in our rural communities.”
Hoyland pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and was sentenced to four years.
Swane admitted conspiracy to steal and was sentenced to two years.
The Warren/Neal family pleaded not guilty and stood trial between Wednesday, January 23 and Wednesday, February 6.
Martin Warren (52) of Crawshaws Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal, convert and conceal criminal property.
He was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to steal, three years for conspiracy to convert – to be served consecutively, and three years for conspiracy to conceal – to be served concurrently.
Jacqueline Neal (52) of Crawshaws Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of conspiracy to convert and conceal criminal property. She was sentenced to two years and nine months.
Christopher Neal (29) of Crawshaws Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of conspiracy to convert and conceal criminal property. He was sentenced to two years.
Jason Warren (32) of Crawshaws Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of conspiracy to convert and conceal criminal property. He was sentenced to one year and six months.
In an unrelated case, Hoyland and an accomplice, Richard Loveridge (21) of Ecton Lane, Northampton, were also investigated for a series of prestige car thefts between November 2010 and early December 2010.
The men would identity cars that had been left switched on in the cold weather by owners looking to defrost windscreens.
They would then simply drive the car away. Cars were stolen from across Northamptonshire and south Leicestershire.
Both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and were also sentenced in court on Tuesday.
Hoyland was sentenced to four years in prison, which he must serve concurrently to his other sentence.
Loveridge was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
Detective Inspector Louise Hemingway, who led the investigation, said: “This was a highly organised and sophisticated criminal conspiracy.
“They were prolific in committing vehicle crime, and in particular they mainly targeted our rural communities - the farmers and builders who needed their Land Rovers for their working life.
“We started this investigation in August 2010, and in the following three months we identified at least 14 Land Rover thefts by this gang. A swift investigation resulted in the arrests being made in December 2010, bringing to an end their spree of car thefts.
“We welcome the sentences today and remain committed to pursuing those who carry out these crimes and bringing those responsible to justice.
“We will now be seeking the confiscation of the criminal assets and money gained by this organised gang.”
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Weather for Harborough
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 23 C
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