25th Nov, 2020

Mechanic part of major car-ringing operation sentenced

A TRACKER device on a stolen Land Rover led the police to a Claverdon farm out-building where they found evidence of 15 other vehicles which had been broken up and sold for parts.

And at Warwick Crown Court mechanic Ian Turner pleaded guilty to converting criminal property in relation to stolen Land Rovers and cars worth more than £160,000.

But the 49 year-old escaped being jailed, and was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity for 15 days.

Prosecutor Ian Speed said Turner had received stolen vehicles and broke them up into sellable parts.

At the premises he rented from a retired farmer, there was clear identification of p arts from 15 Land Rovers, a Range Rover Evoque, and Audi RS4, a Ford Fiesta and a motorcycle.

Mr Speed added although no-one else was arrested, it was ‘a significant car-ringing operation,’ with the values for the vehicles totalling around £160,000.

Notebooks and his phone showed Turner had been selling and fitting parts from the stolen vehicles, including selling them at local events.

His illegal business came to light because a Land Rover Discovery stolen from Birmingham in September last year was fitted with a tracker device.

That enabled the police to trace it to Claverdon Hall Farm at Claverdon, where they found Turner, who rented one of the outbuildings which he used as a workshop.

In the unit were what was left of a number of stolen vehicles, and when he arrested Turner, of Jubilee Avenue, Redditch, commented simply: “It is what it is.”

He was interviewed and admitted he was buying vehicles, mainly Land Rovers, knowing they were stolen because of the low price he was paying, from members of the ‘travelling community.’

In a second interview he changed his story, saying he was working for them, rather than buying the vehicles, and had felt under pressure to break up ones they brought to the farm.

Jonathan Coode, defending, said it was not a conventional car-ringing activity, and there had been “considerable amount of coercion” from the travelling community, and Turner had been assaulted on one occasion.

Mr Coode added Turner had worked with his father, ‘on whom he almost doted,’ and his brother; but after their father died, he and his brother fell out and he began working on his own, and ‘he accepts he fell into temptation.’

Sentencing Turner, Judge de Bertodano told him: “You have got yourself into a great deal of trouble over what you did.

“I don’t know how it started, but the fact is you kept going for over a year, providing for these people a valuable service. It was something they could not do without you.

“I accept it was not your operation, and it was not your idea, but you played an essential part.”

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