Police snare criminal gang whose £750,000 operation fuelled vehicle thefts across Kent and south-east London
PUBLISHED: 10:10 27 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:10 27 November 2016
The criminals handled stolen vehicles and sold them on to unsuspecting buyers
Members of a gang whose activities fuelled the theft of vehicles across Kent and south-east London have been jailed following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.
The five men were engaged in vehicle ‘ringing’ - handling stolen vehicles and selling them on to unsuspecting buyers in a criminal operation worth more than £750,000.
Officers from the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit launched an investigation when a stolen Ford Transit was traced to an industrial estate in Swanley in July 2015.
When they arrived at the site, police found 34 stolen vans that were in the process of either being stripped for parts or having their identification numbers and markings swapped for vehicles that weren’t shown as stolen.
Two men, Danny Sheehy and Leslie Daniels, were both arrested at the site, but a third man - later identified as Ricky Mantell - managed to escape.
Further enquiries led officers to another industrial unit in Rettendon, Essex, and detectives arrested both Lee Bridge and Danny Orgles after they found a further eight stolen Transit vans at the site.
While on bail, Sheehy, Mantell, Bridge and Orgles returned to the site in Swanley and continued to receive and dismantle stolen vans.
In December 2015, officers raided the site again and found another 13 stolen vehicles, with officers arresting Mantell in the process.
The gang were found to have handled 74 stolen vehicles in total - 62 of which were Ford Transits - with a total value of £789,000.
The five men were charged in December 2015 with conspiracy to handle stolen vehicles and pleaded guilty at the Inner London Crown Court.
Detective inspector Caroline Clooney of the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit said: “This was a well-organised gang of criminals who were handling stolen Ford Transit vans to break up for parts or to sell on to innocent purchasers.
“Their activity fuelled the theft of Transit vans across the south-east London and Kent area.
“The impact on the victims was significant as they relied on their vehicle for their livelihood, so this sentence is good news for van owners across the region.”
Danny Sheehy, 34, of Manor Road, Sidcup was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Ricky Mantell, 31, of Overton Road, Abbey Wood was jailed for three years, while Lee Bridges, 39, of Randlesdown Road, Bellingham, received a two-and-a-half year sentence.
Danny Orgles, 21, of Randlesdown Road, Bellingham, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment (suspended for 18 months).
Leslie Daniels, 28, of Commonwealth Way, Abbey Wood was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment (suspended for 12 months).