FOUR men from Tamworth have been jailed for a total of 12 years for burglaries where high-powered cars were targeted in south Staffordshire and Warwickshire.
Evidence was gathered after one of the men dropped a mobile phone at the scene of one of the burglaries and they chatted about it on Facebook.
Detectives from Staffordshire Police’s Major Crimes investigations department gathered forensic evidence and witness statements, as well as intelligence from mobile phones and CCTV.
Jimmy Cutler and Adam Gould all entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit burglary at an earlier hearing at Stafford Crown Court. Philip Thompson pleaded guilty to burglary of commercial premises and handling stolen goods. Heath Moran pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, dangerous driving and theft of petrol.
A fifth man, Zak Clark, aged 22, of Elizabeth Drive, Tamworth, also pleaded guilty but failed to appear and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
The court heard the men had targeted houses and commercial premises, in south Staffordshire and Warwickshire, principally to steal car keys and take high value vehicles, which included a black Range Rover Evoque, a white Range Rover Sport, a white VW Golf GTD and a white Ford Focus RS.
Three burglaries and three attempted burglaries took place in one night on 25/26 March 2016, beginning with an attempted burglary at a house in Austrey Road, Warton, in Warwickshire at around 1am. At around 2:40am beer, golf clubs and other items were stolen from a property in Peel Close, Tamworth. A white iPhone was dropped which contained a photo of one of the men, Jimmy Cutler.
At around 3am and 3:20am two more attempts were made to enter houses in Hints Road, Hopwas, and Pegasus Walk, Tamworth. During the same night a white Range Rover Sport was stolen after its keys were taken from a house in Byron Road, Tamworth. In Lawrence Court, Tamworth, a white Ford Focus RS was taken after its keys were stolen. There were sightings of both vehicles and petrol was stolen from a garage in Tamworth before the Range Rover was discovered later that day.
The Ford Focus RS was later found in a garage in Mulliner Street, Coventry, where it was being stripped down.
On 1 March a black Range Rover Evoque was stolen after keys were taken from a house at Blackwood Road, Tamworth. When the Range Rover was dumped DNA traces were found which linked Thompson to the vehicle.
On 12 March a white VW Golf GTD was stolen when keys were taken during a burglary at a house in Queensway, Tamworth.
Jimmy Cutler, aged 24, (formerly of Tamworth) now of Dame Kendal Grove, Grimsby, was sentenced to 3 years 4 months for conspiracy to burgle.
Adam Gould, aged 21, of Hamble, Tamworth, was sentenced to 4 years for conspiracy to burgle.
Phillip Thompson, aged 38, of Lansdowne Crescent, Tamworth, was sentenced to two years four months for handling and conspiracy to burgle.
Heath Moran, aged 22, of Lyon Drive, Tamworth, was sentenced to 2 years 4 months for handling, dangerous driving and making off without payment. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.
Inspector Pete Cooke, of Staffordshire Police’s Major Crimes investigations department, said: “These men broke into houses while the occupants slept, specifically to target high-powered cars so they could race them and strip them for parts.
“They were an organised, close-knit group which preyed on properties across the south of Staffordshire and into neighbouring Warwickshire. A great deal of hard work has gone into gathering the evidence to build this case and we’re delighted these men are now behind bars.”