Three men who conspired to handle high value stolen cars after keys were taken during house burglaries across Preston and South Ribble have been jailed.
The car theft ring was exposed when a security tracker raised an alarm on Skeffington Road, Ribbleton, Preston, where the garage premises at the centre of the operation was discovered.
A Lancashire Police probe began in September 2017 after a high value Mercedes was stolen during a burglary in Fulwood in the early hours of the morning.
The security tracker of the car alerted police to the garage, where various work units were in place, with police remarking it “ clearly had the appearance of a chop shop”.
Police found defendant Mohammed Khan, 46, of Farringdon Close, Preston inside the unit, with five vehicles identified as stolen from burglaries in the area over a seven week period - all of which involved sneaking in and the taking of car keys.
A search of the garage also revealed a van, stolen from Cumbria, which was partly dismantled.
There were also car parts linked other stolen vehicles that had already been dismantled and disposed of.
Following Khan’s arrest, officers also arrested of Waqas Rehman, 36, of Holmfield Road, Fulwood, Preston, who had rented the unit in his own name.
His mobile phone was seized from him and enquiries linked James Batchelor, 24, Hawthorn Road, Preston, a close associate of Khan’s.
Rehman and Khan were both jailed for five years, while Batchelor was jailed for four years.
All three were convicted of conspiracy to handle stolen vehicles after a trial.