Dagenham gang member jailed after stealing from parked lorries

Police said the gang targeted the lorries mostly at night Picture: PA Images

Police said the gang targeted the lorries mostly at night Picture: PA Images - Credit: Archant

Members of a gang who stole £158,000 of goods from parked lorries across the South East have been sentenced to more than 35 years in prison between them.

Eleven men, including one from Barking and Dagenham, were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court today for conspiracy to steal items such as motorcycles, clothes and jam.

The court was told how the gang preyed on parked lorries in Essex and Kent between July and October 2014 in mostly overnight raids.

They slashed the side curtains of the lorries before emptying their contents into one of six vehicles, five of which were reported stolen and found to be using false number plates.

Det Insp Matthew Scott of Kent Police said: “The offenders in this case targeted lorries at random and stole whatever they came across.

“They got away with items ranging from off-road motorcycles to clothes and jam to sets of travel Cluedo. In total, the items stolen had a combined estimated value of £158,000.

“My officers were able to put together a complex and compelling case by using clues the offenders left us along the way.”

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In total the offenders received 28 years and nine months between them for conspiracy to steal, but some were also sentenced for outstanding and unrelated offences which added a further six years and ten months between them.

Among those sentenced was Ashley Andrews, 30, of Durham Road in Dagenham, who was handed three years and four months imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal.

Det Insp Scott encouraged lorry drivers to be “vigilant” and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police on 101 or 999.

He added that police were able to catch the criminals by using mobile phone data and automatic number plate recognition cameras.