The detective who led an investigation into a “highly organised gang” who operated a £1 million Land Rover con has hailed the sentences handed out at Northampton Crown Court today.
The investigation began in August 2010, when Northamptonshire criminal Andra Hoyland, aged 29, from Broughton, led the theft of Land Rovers from farmers and builders.
Hoyland would then drive the car up to Birmingham, where Martin Warren and his family ran a business in Forge Lane, Minworth, Birmingham, specialising in the sale of Land Rovers and parts.
Martin Warren ran the enterprise with his partner, Jacqueline Neal, and their two sons Christopher Neal and Jason Warren.
During the investigation, officers found that over £1 million had been deposited in the accounts of Jacqueline and Christopher Neal between 2005 and 2010.
Police also recovered £32,500 from a safe in the house.
The investigation revealed that Land Rovers had been stolen from across Northamptonshire, including Rushden, Yardley Hastings, Newnham, Desborough and Lower Boddington.
They were also stolen from Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire.
The gang was sentenced today.
Detective Inspector Louise Hemingway, who led the investigation, said: “This was a highly organised and sophisticated criminal conspiracy.
“They were prolific in committing vehicle crime, and in particular they mainly targeted our rural communities - the farmers and builders who needed their Land Rovers for their working life.
“We started this investigation in August 2010, and in the following three months we identified at least 14 Land Rover thefts by this gang.
“A swift investigation resulted in the arrests being made in December 2010, bringing to an end their spree of car thefts.
“We welcome the sentences today and remain committed to pursuing those who carry out these crimes and bringing those responsible to justice.
“We will now be seeking the confiscation of the criminal assets and money gained by this organised gang.”
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, added: “In my recently published Police and Crime Plan, I’ve placed strong emphasis on reducing vehicle crime and targeting rural crime.
“Sentences such as those handed out today demonstrate our commitment to targeting criminals who think they can benefit from taking things from others, and in particular targeting those in our rural communities.”