Mon, 21 May 2012
A gang of car-key burglars raided homes across Staffordshire and the West Midlands to steal high value vehicles, a court heard.
Some of their victims had to watch helplessly as their prized motors worth tens of thousands of pounds were driven away.
Homes in Lichfield, Rugeley and Kings Bromley were targeted, as well as further afield in Ashby de la Zouch and Stratford-on-Avon.
So far, though, only one member of the gang – Phillip Thompson – has been tracked down, after police found one of the stolen vehicles, an Audi TT Quattro, in Burntwood.
In it was found a balaclava with DNA that matched up to Thompson, a convicted robber who was out of jail on licence, said Mr Anthony Potter, prosecuting.
Thompson, aged 33, of Lichfield Road, Stafford was jailed for a total of 63 months after admitting conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.
Judge Paul Glenn told him: “These offences cause massive distress and inconvenience to the victims.
“The fact you get a thrill from driving high powered and high quality vehicles is no consolation to them.”
The judge said the crimes committed by the gang were “indicative of professionalism”.
Stafford Crown Court heard that the gang had already been operating before Thompson joined them in November last year, shortly after his release from prison on licence.
It started on October 22 with the theft of a silver Audi TT worth £18,000 from Featherstone near Wolverhampton while a woman was alone in the house.
Thompson’s involvement began on November 14 after the theft of a £22,000 BMW from Ashby. It and the silver Audi were spotted by CCTV travelling in convoy down the M42, the defendant in one of those cars.
Click to view the profile for Anthony Potter - Prosecuting