Three men have been jailed at Lincoln Crown Court after admitting their roles in disposing of stolen cars worth £300,000.
The trio were involved in moving stolen vehicles to the East Midlands where they were cloned and then sold on.
Stephen Lowne, prosecuting, said that cars, stolen in the London area, Sheffield and Leicestershire, had their identities changed with false number plates before being sold to unsuspecting customers.
Richard Whitfield, 32, of The Grove, Grantham, was jailed for four years. Anthony Allan, 35, of Nottingham Road, Melton Mowbray, was jailed for three years and Christopher Cooper, 36, of Rudbeck Avenue, Melton Mowbray, was jailed for 18 months. All three admitted a charge of conspiracy to handle stolen goods on dates between June and August 2014.
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told them: “This has been a large enterprise involving organised crime in the stealing of high value vehicles.
“A number of those vehicles were brought north to the East Midlands where they were cloned and sold. All of you played an important part in the disposal of various vehicles.”
Christopher Swistak, for Whitfield, said: “He was first involved when he received a phone call from the London area from an associate who said he had obtained a car and didn’t have the money to get back.
“He picked up £150 and some money for the fuel and drove down. They met up and drove back in convoy.”
He said Whitfield was involved in moving two more cars before he was arrested.
“He accepts he was up to no good. He regrets greatly getting involved in this. He was in a position where things were picking up.
“It is a big disappointment for his partner that he has placed himself in this position.”
Neil Sands, for Allan, said his active involvement was for just four weeks during which time he was involved in the disposal of five cars,
“He had been making an effort through legitimate employment to put his life back on track.
“Matters appeared to be going in the right direction but then his relationship fell apart. He was no longer able to live with his partner in Grantham ands moved to his mother’s address. He was then not able to continue with his work.
“He understands that this is a serious matter. He apologises unreservedly to those who were caught up in this.”
Robin Howat, for Cooper, said he acted as a driver travelling to London to bring back vehicles.
“He brought them up to Leicestershire. He left the keys on the rear tyre where they were then picked up by other people.
“For very small amounts of money he has got himself involved in this conspiracy.”