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Bradford car theft gang jailed for total of 23 years
Six Bradford men involved with an organised gang that burgled homes to steal top-of-the-range cars have been given jail sentences totalling more than 23 years.
Vehicles to the value of £400,000 – including a £70,000 Mercedes-Benz, a £70,000 Audi R8 and a £30,000 Audi TT – were taken so they could be cloned and passed on to unsuspecting members of the public.
Homes across the region were raided overnight and car keys taken, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.
Samuel Pearson, 31, of Sticker Lane, Laisterdyke ; Sohail Bham, 35, of Beldon Road, Great Horton ; Daniel Burns, 35, of Ley Top Lane, Allerton ; and Andrew De Angelis, 24, of St Enoch’s Road, Wibsey , pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.
Burns and De Angelis were jailed for five years. Bham was imprisoned for four and a half years and Pearson for four years and nine months.
Salam, who was at the time the son of a Bradford magistrate, was jailed for 18 months and Hussain for two years and nine months.
The gang were involved in a spate of house burglaries in Park House Close, Wyke , Bradford; Nottinghamshire; Wakefield; Castleford; Halifax and York between July 15 and November 5, 2010.
High-value cars were targeted in a “sophisticated” operation to clone them and sell them on.
Bham was involved in three burglaries, Burns in five and De Angelis and Pearson in six.
Prosecutor Nadeem Bashir said cars were given false registration plates and chassis numbers were burned off.
Members of the gang tried to get the Mercedes re-sprayed a different colour. Its tracker device, and that on the Audi R8, were removed. A fraudulent tax disc was put on the Mercedes.
The stolen Audi TT was found by the police on September 26, 2010, under a cover on Salam’s drive with the registration plates removed, Mr Bashir said stolen cars were passed to Salam and then on to Hussain to sell to members of the public.
Salam and Hussain posed for photos in front of the stolen Audi R8.
The court heard that Bham had no previous convictions. He joined the conspiracy for 14 days after being made redundant.
Burns took over from him as the gang’s driver. He was a father-of-five who bitterly regretted his involvement.
De Angelis had the support of a loving family and a partner who was standing by him. He was “sincerely sorry”.
Pearson was a stone mason who was struggling to provide for a young family.
Salam’s father stood down as a magistrate because of the case. His son was involved in the plot for about four weeks.
Hussain’s successful motor dealership hit financial problems. He had three children to support and was in significant debt.
After the case, senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Alan Flynn said: “This was a detailed and comprehensive investigation, incorporating a whole range of evidence-gathering techniques, predominantly around telecommunication. The seizure of mobile phones, for instance, provided an insight into their movements and their associates through text messages, call data and address books.
“It subsequently became clear that together, these men had a hand in an organised operation to burgle homes with the sole purpose of stealing the occupants’ vehicles. These would then be cloned and sold on to unsuspecting members of the public.
“Officers from Bradford South CID led this inquiry, building up a clear intelligence picture relating to each of the defendants. It is testament to their knowledge and skills that we were able to uncover this criminal enterprise involving vehicles totalling nearly £400,000.
“These latest sentences simply underline our continued focus on tackling burglary and the lengths we will go to ensure that offenders are placed firmly behind bars.”