A gang that stole £2.8m worth of high-end vehicles including Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes has been jailed after targeting Heathrow Airport car park.
Seventy-two vehicles were taken across London and the South East by the thieves over a 10-month period between December 2019 and October 2020.
The criminals targeted cars with keyless technology on residential streets, driveways and dealership forecourts, using a device to programme a new digital key in just seconds which allowed them to gain entry and drive off.
The investigation was launched after a number of thefts from a car park at Heathrow.
One car was located on a shipping container bound for Ghana, while others were re-plated and used to commit separate crimes or dismantled for parts in “chop shops”.
Four men were jailed for a total of more than 20 years at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday after admitting their roles, the Metropolitan Police said.
Ringleader James Howsen, 32, from Brentwood, Essex, was jailed for six years and eight months and banned from driving for six years and four months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal, dangerous driving, burglary, and aggravated vehicle taking.
Dwaine Dixon, 29, from Woodford Green, Essex, was jailed for five years and 11 months for conspiracy to steal, and burglary.
Jack MacLeod, 29, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for two years and eight months for conspiracy to steal, burglary, two counts of dangerous driving, ABH, and aggravated vehicle taking.
Brodi Higgins, 24, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years and one month imprisonment and disqualified from driving for two years and 10 months for conspiracy to steal, burglary, theft of a vehicle, and dangerous driving.
PC Barry Munnelly, of the Met’s aviation policing command, who led the investigation, said: “This gang travelled around London and the South East to commit these brazen thefts – at all times of the day from residential streets, private driveways and car dealership forecourts.
“On a number of occasions they drove recklessly, showing no regard for the safety of the public or police officers.”
Four other members of the gang were jailed earlier this year.