Three men who stole high value motor vehicles across east London and then rammed police vehicles to evade arrest have been sentenced.
The men, who were involved in the theft of 16 vehicles, between 7 April 2019 and 3 October 2019, all pleaded guilty to the offences at Wood Green Crown Court on Tuesday, 3 December 2019. They were sentenced on Friday, 17 January. They are:
Astin Cockley, 20, of Lonsdale Close, E6 who was sentenced to three years in a young offenders’ institute for conspiracy to steal, two counts of dangerous driving, two counts of driving without a licence and two counts of driving without insurance. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.
John Philpott, 19, of Sibley Grove, E12 was sentenced to three years in a young offenders’ institute for conspiracy to steal, driving without licence and driving without insurance. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.
Kyron Roberts, 21, of Rush Green Road, RM7 was jailed for two years and nine months for conspiracy to steal.
Roberts was also jailed for six months for conspiracy to burgle relating to an offence in Hertfordshire in March 2018. He admitted the offence at an earlier hearing. This sentence will run consecutively to the above, taking his entire sentence to three years and three months.
The three men were initially arrested on 4 September 2019 after an Audi SQ5 vehicle failed to stop for police in East Ham. It made off from police at speeds of around 80mph. The vehicle was driven along Wilson Road, E6 and as it approached the junction with Benson Avenue it was blocked by a bus which prevented it from continuing along the road. At this point the police vehicle pulled in directly behind the Audi, in order to block it in. The vehicle then reversed and shunted the police vehicle.
The Audi managed to turn right and accelerated off at great speed along Benson Road. The vehicle was found by the officers, after it had crashed into a wall outside Proton Tower, Blackwall Way. All three occupants had decamped from the vehicle and were arrested a short while later. They had been identified as occupants of the vehicle, which had been stolen in a burglary.
All three men were interviewed and released under investigation/bailed pending further enquiries. Following their release, evidence came to light linking all three to further offences. They were identified mainly through CCTV, forensic and phone work which showed they travelled together at the time of the offences.
One particular offence captured on CCTV was the theft of a white Range Rover on 25 June 2019. The victim was at home at 15:15hrs when he heard his vehicle being driven away. The victim provided officers with live tracking details and they located the vehicle at an industrial estate off Dock Road, E16. As officers approached the suspects in their vehicle, they were rammed by the stolen Range Rover. The suspects fled the scene.
On 4 November 2019, warrants were executed at the home addresses of all three men, where they were re-arrested. A number of items were recovered, including clothing seen on the CCTV of some of the offences.
PC Grace Turner, from Central East Basic Command Unit’s Crime Squad, said: “These men went on a rampage of stealing and attempting to steal high value vehicles, particularly a Range Rover Evoque, in and around east London.
“They drove dangerously around London, showing no concern for the safety of those around them. They violently rammed the vehicles they had stolen into police cars, in a bid to escape arrest, again showing little regard for the safety of the officers inside.
“I am pleased the vehicles stolen in this conspiracy have been located and returned to their rightful owners and that fortunately no member of the public or law enforcement was seriously injured by the reckless actions of these individuals.
“This case should send a clear message to anyone who may believe they can easily evade police in such cases, that we will use all powers available to us to identify you, and bring you before the courts.”
To protect yourself from ‘key cloning’ vehicle owners are advised to:
-Make sure your vehicle is left in a well-lit area
-Ensure it is locked when leaving it by checking a door
-Consider a steering lock or garaging your vehicle
-Avoid reliance on the manufacturer’s fitted electronic security and locks
-Consider lock shields and marking schemes as a deterrent
-Consider purchasing a tracking device, to increase the chances of the vehicle being traced if it is stolen
-If your vehicle has a keyless entry/start system put your car key and any spare keys in a key security pouch (sometimes called a ‘faraday bag’) as it prevents criminals from activating the technology.
Many vehicles are still stolen via house burglaries – so ensure your front and back doors are double locked, and keep keys out of sight.