£1.5m of plant stolen by gang posing as contractors

Published:  02 August, 2011

BRADFORD: A gang responsible for the theft of over £1.5m worth of construction plant and machinery has been jailed.

All five were convicted of "conspiring to steal high value construction and demolition plant equipment" between 1 August 2008 and 31 August 2010, which included 22 separate raids on sites across the north of England and Wales.

The gang targeted 14 counties across England and Wales including Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Merseyside, Derbyshire and North Wales.

They would either target sites and steal expensive kit or pose as contractors and hire equipment and never return it.

Detective Sergeant Paul Greenwood of the West Yorkshire Police's Crime Division, said: "The gang had two methods of stealing the equipment. Firstly, they would identify a piece of machinery, break into the yard, load it onto a wagon and then steal it.

"In other offences, the thieves had set up three companies which they used to contact legitimate plant hire companies to hire and subsequently steal, high value plant machinery.

"The majority of the machinery was recovered, with some being traced abroad in Iraq, Turkey, Ireland and Portugal.

"It was a complex investigation and we are delighted with the sentences given today. By stealing the machinery, these people were ruining the livelihoods of their victims.

"We hope that the punishment handed out today demonstrates that the Police do take this type of crime seriously and that we are robust in tackling organised criminals of this kind. "

Peter John Green of Highfield Drive, Batley was sentenced to 3 years 9 months, Mark John Lambert of Amber Wharfe, Bradford was given 3 years 9 months, Sharon Pearson of Capa Terrace, Bradford received 18 months, Matthew Wheatley of Mark Close, Bradford was jailed for 15 months and David Colley of Netherton, Huddersfield was sentenced to 15 months.

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