ORGANISED gangs which specialised in burgling houses and stealing high-value cars have been smashed - and the criminals are today coming to terms with jail sentences totalling more than 40 years, writes Russ Newton.
Undercover officers were drafted in by Doncaster police to infiltrate groups of crooks who boasted they could steal anything to order.
And they kept their word - by delivering top-spec cars such as Audis, BMWs and Range Rovers within hours of them being stolen from the driveways of houses across South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and as far away as Leicestershire.
The undercover cops, who were praised by a judge at Doncaster Crown Court, handed over thousands of pounds in cash several times a week to buy the ‘hot’ vehicles while gathering secret evidence against the gang.
Even cars fitted with expensive tracker devices were not immune because the gangs knew how to disable the gadgets immediately. The cars were then fitted with false number plates.
The crooks’ technique was to locate a valuable car outside houses in well-to-do areas and villages, and then break in to the house to steal the ignition keys - so-called ‘two-in-one’ burglaries.
The main ringleader was David Frost, aged 33, of Gattison Lane, Rossington, who was jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to supply stolen goods, which he admitted.
Another gang was run by William Peat, aged 44, and his 21-year-old son, also called William, both of Jefferson Avenue, Clay Lane, who admitted conspiracy. Peat junior received 10 years and his father got six years.
Four years each were imposed on Robert Nevill, 22, of Foljambe Crescent, and Nicky Relton, 18, of Windsor View, both Rossington, for burglaries and handling stolen goods.
Aiden Poulton, 22, of Thorold Place, Kirk Sandall, admitted handling and was sentenced to three years, along with Lee Woodmansey, 23, of Richmond Road, Gainsborough, for burglary and handling.
Shane McInerney, 18, of Hermes Close, Bawtry, was jailed for 18 months for handling.
Mark Spencer, 36, of Clay Flatt Lane, Rossington, was given a nine-month suspended sentence for handling, and Derek Dale, 38, of Shirley Pool Drive, Doncaster, received six months suspended, also for handling.
Prosecutor Carl Fitch said one of the undercover officers, ‘Dave’, first met Peat senior at The Wheatley Hotel and told them he could get good vehicles at cheap prices and his partner could dismantle the trackers.
The next day a Porsche and a Range Rover, together worth £79,000, were stolen from the drive of a house in Armthorpe and Peat junior sold the Porsche to the cop for £2,500.
The Range Rover was bought for £2,200 in a layby on Bawtry Road a few hours later.
Less than a week later the owner of an Audi A4 in Newark was woken by a call from a man who said: “Have a look out of your bedroom window, I’m the bloke who’s just nicked your car.” The £10,000 car was sold for £1,200 at Rossington that afternoon.
Mr Fitch listed numerous other valuable cars including a Mini Cooper, a Range Rover Vogue, another Audi A4 and a Ford Galaxy, all sold by the Peats’ gang. So many vehicles were offered to the undercover officer that he refused many others.
At one stage Peat senior said he thought he was being watched and ‘cooled off’ the cars. He turned to dealing in stolen plant equipment and JCBs instead.
When the officer was introduced to Frost he boasted he had taught Peat junior how to break into houses and cars, and claimed he had “loads of lads that did it”.
Sentencing the crooks Judge Peter Kelson QC said they had dealt with £500,000 worth of stolen property and ran a “completely professional business, handling high value vehicles at ridiculously low prices”.
“You are professionals running serious organised crime businesses and causing untold misery,” he said.