A car thief has been jailed for stealing vehicles worth more than £600,000 in broad daylight.

Jack Smith, 36, of no fixed address was sentenced alongside three other men from east London earlier this month.

The group were found to have been involved in a spree of car thefts between July 2019 and February 2020.

A total of 18 high-value cars were stolen, typically in station car parks between the hours of 10am and 2.30pm after commuters had left their vehicles to go to work.

Three other men – Ricky Steed, 31, from Dagenham; Jay Tisdall, 31, from Romford; Michael Holmes, 32, from Rainham – were found to have aided Smith during this time.

Romford Recorder: From left to right: Jay Tisdall, Michael Holmes, Ricky SteedFrom left to right: Jay Tisdall, Michael Holmes, Ricky Steed (Image: BTP)

At trial, Inner London Crown Court heard that after stealing a Range Rover from a supermarket car park, Smith texted his partner a photo of the car alongside the message - "Got u a new car xxx".

The spree started on July 24, when Smith stole a Range Rover from Shenfield Station car park. It was recovered later that day with £25,000 worth of damage caused and with Smith’s DNA inside.

Around the same time, a transit van was stolen and later seen in a vehicle convoy in Essex alongside a car insured by Smith.

A few days later, another high-value car was stolen from a residential address in Romford. The car was later seen in a convoy with a car that had only three days previously been insured by Smith.  

In July alone, Smith and others stole vehicles with a value of more than £100,000 combined.

Smith ultimately pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft and for handling stolen goods.

He was jailed for eight years in total – 90 months for the spree of thefts and a further six months for stealing another vehicle in 2022.

British Transport Police investigating officer DC Keef Cook said: "This sentence for Smith shows that the police and courts don’t take the theft of motor vehicles lightly, and I am extremely pleased with the result. 

"The theft of a motor vehicle causes unnecessary anguish and stress to the victims not only over the loss of their vehicle, but for the loss of their personal property within the vehicle and the financial loss incurred by insurance excess and increase in premiums.

"I would like to thank our colleagues in Essex Police and Metropolitan Police for their help in securing these convictions."

The other three sentences were as follows:

  • Tisdall – found guilty of three counts of theft and sentenced to two years in prison. 
  • Holmes – found guilty of one count of attempted theft and sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months
  • Steed – pleaded guilty to one count of theft and sentenced to 9 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.