‘Chop shop’ car theft pair jailed

The gang stole prestige cars, including Porsche's
The gang stole prestige cars, including Porsche's
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Two members of a car ringing gang which saw prestige cars stolen from homes have been jailed for their part in the conspiracy.

Michael McGuiness, 27, of Cemetery Road, Ribbleton, and Peter Hull, 24, of no fixed address, were involved in handling stolen vehicles and transporting them to a chop shop in Preston where they were stripped down and their shells crushed. Police searched the garage in Deepdale Mill Street and discovered a blue Seat Toledo which had been stolen during a burglary.

They also found parts from a BMW 730 which had been solen from a house in Longridge and an Audi A3 stolen from Grimsargh.

CCTV taken from a garage in Deepdale Mill Street showed a the Audi, BMW and a Posche Boxster entering the garage as complete vehicles but their shells had been crushed and the parts had been removed.

Preston Crown Court heard Imran Patel was arrested first and told the police two men he knew only as Mickey and Pete had asked him to store the cars. He knew the men through the motor trade but insisted he did not know their surnames or where they lived.

McGuiness was identified from the CCTV and pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, aggravated vehicle taking and an attempted burglary.

Hull also admitted handling stolen goods on the basis his role was limited to being available to drive McGuiness away from Deepdale Mill Street after the Audi and Porsche had been delivered to the garage.

Recorder Thompson, sentencing, said: “This was a professional and well organised operation. These were high value vehicles that were stolen during burglaries.

“I am not sentencing you for stealing these vehicles - there is no evidence that you did - but you knew these vehicles were stolen. You knew what you were involved in. You took them to the garage and you knew what was going to happen. You knew they were going to be dismantled. That is clear from the speed at which they were dismantled and the shells crushed.”

He sentenced McGuiness to three years in prison and Hull to 15 months. Patel will be sentenced at a later date.