Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Poland at work: Ten-man gang jailed for £1m car theft crime ring

Pawel Wodecki, Ricky England, Jumroz Khan, John McCulloch and, bottom row, from left, Zbigniew Nowak, Tomasz Nowak, Matthew Harrison and David Clatworthy,
The detective who helped jail an organised £1m car-crime ring from Wellingborough has warned criminals: "You're not untouchable".
Det Insp Jon Gilbert led Operation Pleat which saw a 10-man gang who made more than £500,000 by stealing high value cars and exporting them to Poland locked up for a total of 35 years.

And he said he believed the gang could be responsible for a further £1m of thefts.

DI Gilbert said: "People who previously thought they were untouchable, aren't. There are no international or national borders."

The gang, masterminded by polish national Pawel Wodecki, 29, of Hatton Park Road, Wellingborough, and crime boss Abdul Hussain, 26, of Pioneer Avenue, Burton Latimer – were jailed at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday for burglaries resulting in the theft and exportation of 23 high specification cars.

Automatic number plate recognition and mobile phone analysis were some of the methods used to prosecute the gang.

Polish brothers Zbigniew Nowak, 25, and Tomasz Nowak, 21, provided the transport links to Poland.

Gang members broke into homes in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire from July 2008 to January this year, stealing keys for high value vehicles. Laptop computers, war medals, cash and credit cards were also taken.

The men were finally arrested and charged after early morning raids involving 130 police officers on January 28..

DI Gilbert said: "We are prepared to invest significant resources – human and financial – to bring these people to justice."

Jail sentences were also handed out to Ricky England, 21, of Gordon Road, Wellingborough, Matthew Harrison, 21, of Knox Road, Wellingborough, David Clatworthy, 23, of High Street, Rushden, who would pick up the stolen cars from Junction 11 of the M1, where they were left by burglars Jumroz Khan, 30, from Bedford and John McCulloch, 28, from Bletchley.

DI Gilbert said: "We hope this case reassures the public of our ability to dismantle organised crime operations and put offenders behind bars."

The tenth gang member, Dennis Skiller, 28, of no fixed address, will be sentenced at a later date due to the ill health of his defence barrister.