‘Prolific’ Hornchurch and Harold Hill thieves jailed for car thefts worth £3million
PUBLISHED: 15:42 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:01 13 April 2017
A prolific gang of car thieves, including two men from Havering, were collectively jailed for more than 46 years at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.
The criminals brazenly broke into homes to steal car keys and then victims’ high-valued cars from outside their houses.
Ringleader Manjit Sandhu, 32, Fairlawns Close, Hornchurch, received 12 years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to steal.
And Geoffrey Cairns, 55, Swindon Lane, Harold Hill, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and was sentenced to three years, six months. He had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal.
Det Ins Caroline Clooney, who leads the Met’s organised vehicle crime unit, said: “This was an extremely prolific and well-organised criminal gang.
“They brought distress to many victims whose homes they broke into, who not only lost their vehicles but in many cases were traumatised by the thought of someone having been in their house while they slept.
“Although the case involved over 120 offences, it is clear that this team were responsible for an even greater number of crimes.
“Almost all of the houses that were burgled had uPVC front doors that had not been double locked, allowing the offenders to gain entry very quickly using simple tools.
“I would urge all householders to ensure that their front door is correctly locked at night - this means not only lifting the handle on a uPVC door, but also using the key to lock it.
“Unless it is locked with the key, the door remains vulnerable to the method employed by the criminals in this case.”
Between March 2015 and August 2016, police identified more than 120 offences worth nearly £3million that the gang were responsible for.
The gang had used sophisticated key programming technology to carry out “keyless” thefts to steal Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes.
On August 17, officers raided a pub in Manor Park, owned by Sandhu’s dad, and found stolen car keys and tools for picking locks.
According to police, Sandhu, was so brazen he committed an offence on the same day he received a suspended sentence for involvement in the theft of another vehicle.
Other members of the gang were captured getting in and out of a stolen BMW by its “dash cam”.
In total there were eight members of the gang who each received between 18 months and 12 years behind bars.