Four men who defrauded a council depot in Ambergate as part of a nationwide con involving industrial batteries have been sentenced.
Ryan Brazil,24, Martin Goodwin,27, Ronnie Smith,26, and Carl Brazil,18, all of Highgrove Lane, Minsterworth, Gloucestershire, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on June 4, having pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading.
Martin Goodwin was sentenced to 16 months in custody. Ronnie Smith was given a 10-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, plus 200 hours community service.Ryan Brazil got a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, plus 200 hours community service.
Carl Brazil was sentenced to a 12-month community order and an 80-hour skills programme requirement.
The court heard the four men had been involved in a wide-ranging fraud, dating between September 2009 and July 2013, to pose as contractors to steal waste industrial batteries.
Once the batteries had been stolen, the four then travelled to a variety of scrap metal dealers to sell on the stolen merchandise – again posing as genuine contractors.
The court was told among their targets was Derbyshire County Council’s transport workshop in Ripley Road, Ambergate which they visited in May 2013.
Detective Sergeant Anthony Jones, of British Transport Police’s National Metal Theft Team, said: “The criminal activity of the men has cost British industry a remarkable sum and, it seems, for years they thought they could act without fear of being brought to justice.”
“Today’s sentencing proves that the criminal justice system, and the people it serves, will not sit idly whilst others seek to profit from offending behaviour.
“As well as the sentences handed down, the court has given leave to pursue a Proceeds of Crime Act case against Brazil, Brazil, Smith and Goodwin.
“This will be the culmination of a lengthy investigation which has seen BTP work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, colleagues from local police forces and a variety of industries. Without their help, dedication and willingness to work together we would not have been able to build such a strong case.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this investigation and, at the same time, send a message to anyone else who believes they can profit from metal theft of any kind – we will use every available, legal, method at our disposal to bring offenders to justice and, where possible, reclaim the assets they have amassed as a result of their criminal behaviour.”