According to the Manchester Evening News, two ‘middle-men gangsters’ have been jailed for two years after pleading guilty at Minshull Street Crown Court to handling stolen cars.
Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Craig Holt, 33, and Craig Galt, 41, received stolen goods as part of a wider car theft ring.
The crime was uncovered via an eBay seller advertising parts from late models or almost new vehicles, and Police carried out a search of an industrial unit in Radcliffe registered to the eBay account holder in April last year.
Prosecuting, Mark Kellet said officers discovered a large number of cars and loose parts, including engines strapped to wooden pallets. The vehicles had no registration plates and were in varying states of being stripped of parts.
Police found engines, gearboxes and body parts from 13 relatively new stolen vehicles, the prosecutor told the court.
A stolen white BMW 420d Sport was also recovered from the unit. Though mostly intact, the GPS tracker and registration plate had been removed from the vehicle.
Mr Kellet said:
“It was clear that the unit was being utilised as a chop shop where stolen motor vehicles were taken and dismantled.” He added: “All marketable parts were being systematically removed from each vehicle prior to the main vehicle bodyshell being cut up into small sections for easy disposal.”
The defendants, Holt and Galt, were connected to the handling of VW Polo GTI that had been stolen during a burglary at a property in Bury in March 2020. They were also linked to a number of other stolen vehicles and were found to have contact with two men operating the chop shop.
Defending, Steven Sullivan described Holt’s role in the conspiracy as ‘limited’, arguing that Holt had been ‘in the grip of a Class A drug addiction’ at the time of offending, having been offered £50 to move one of the stolen cars.
Patrick Williamson, representing Galt added:
“I accept the position of receiving stolen goods, and I would accept that the defendant has a significant but not a lead role.”
Holt and Galt, appearing via video link were sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court on Wednesday (April 14).
Judge Paul Lawton said:
“What you have both admitted is being part of an organised crime group.” He added: “You were essentially middle-men.”