A gang of brazen burglars has been jailed for a total of 71 years after stealing high performance cars in a £2million crime spree.
The gang, all from the travelling community, committed more than 200 burglaries between February and December last year in the south east of England.
Wearing balaclavas, they would smash or force open doors and windows of businesses and homes in broad daylight then steal high-powered BMWs and Audis, firearms, cash and jewellery.
As they were jailed for a total of 71 years on Thursday at Norwich Crown Court, the judge described the conspiracy as the most serious he had ever encountered.
In one attempted robbery last year at a Co-op in Burwell, Cambridgeshire, a gang member drove a stolen red Audi TTRS through a railway crossing at Lakenheath, Suffolk in a bid to get away from police.
When the car was later recovered at a nearby travellers’ site, officers found booty from eight separate burglaries, a firearm and seven stolen puppies.
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The gang put false plates on stolen vehicles and left them in residential parking areas before using them to commit further crimes.
They managed to dispose of some of them through their contacts – some were disposed of through “chop shop” premises where they were dismantled for sale or export but others were never found.
Most of the raids were on homes but the gang also targeted commercial premises and ATMs.
Norfolk suffered almost 100 of the raids, with Cambridgeshire seeing a similar number and other offences took place in Suffolk, Essex and Bedfordshire.
Nine of the gang had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
Charlie Albert Webb, 20, from Newton Flotman, Norfolk was jailed for five years.
John Eli Loveridge, 42, of Carleton Rode, Norfolk was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
John Stanley Loveridge, 23, of Carleton Rode, Norfolk was jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Joseph Holmes, 21, of Willingham, Cambs., was jailed for four years.
Danny Stone-Parker, 28, of Great Dunmow, Essex was jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Timothy Stone-Parker, 24, of Ely, Cambs., was jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Joe John Spencer Loveridge, 19, of Sandy, Beds., was jailed for four years.
Richard Oakley, 27, of Beck Row, Suffolk was jailed for five years.
Johnny Oakley, 25, of Beck Row, Suffolk was jailed for five-and-a-half years.
A tenth man, Simon Oakley, 45, of Hempnall, Norfolk was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle in October and was jailed for nine years.
Detective Inspector Craig Harrison, who led the investigation, said: “These sentences reflect the scale and impact of this gang’s offending.
“Every one of their crimes had a victim so the trauma and devastation caused in quite a short space of time was immense.
“They clearly had no care at all for the impact their offending was having on communities, particularly in south and east Cambridgeshire, which were particularly badly hit, and, indeed, across the region.”
Two other men – James Pateman, 55, of no fixed abode, and his brother, Thomas Brown, 54, of Cambridge – were also found guilty of handling stolen goods in October following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.
The court heard the men were involved in the disposal of jewellery between March and November last year.
Pateman was jailed for three-and-a-half years, and Brown for eight years.