'Prolific' criminals who struck in Derbyshire jailed for total of 43 years
A gang which was involved in the organised theft of more than £1.5million of goods from lorries across the country – including in Derbyshire – has been jailed for a total of nearly 50 years.
Leeds Crown Court heard the gang was snared following a West Yorkshire Police investigation into the organised supply of drugs.
Enquiries identified a number of vehicles linked to the Leeds-based gang members were attending a particular address and then making overnight journeys to several parts of the country, including Derbyshire.
Checks with the relevant police forces in those areas found many of the overnight journeys coincided with thefts from heavy goods vehicles.
In each of the incidents, the vehicles were targeted while the drivers were parked up on rest breaks.
The offenders either slashed open the curtain side of the targeted vehicle or forced the rear doors and unloaded pallets of goods and drove off with them.
The items stolen by the gang included thousands of pounds worth of alloy wheels, tyres, power tools, hair straighteners, cosmetics, face cream and jewellery.
Quantities of the stolen goods were found when officers executed search warrants at addresses, storage containers and other lock-ups linked to members of the group.
The eight defendants, all from Leeds, were jailed for 43 years in total.
Inspector Mick Preston, who led the investigation, said: “The ringleaders of this group are prolific criminals who have been negative role models of the worst kind in their communities over a number of years.
“As these offences clearly illustrate, they are motivated purely by greed and care nothing for the harm and fear their behaviour causes to their victims.
“We hope the significant prison sentences they have received will help to reassure their victims and the wider community, and also send a warning to others who think they can commit serious crimes such as these without having to face the consequences."
Two of the group, John Kitchen, aged 28, of Tarnside Drive in Seacroft, Leeds, and Kieran Marshall, aged 29, of Hawkshead Crescent, Seacroft, were also sentenced over a dramatic ram-raid at a jewellers in Leeds city centre as part of the lorry theft crime spree. CCVT from that ram-raid can be seen above.