Cambridgeshire gang members plead guilty to 200 burglaries - including ram raids in Littleport, Burwell and thefts from vulnerable people - costing victims £2 million in 11-month crime spree
PUBLISHED: 18:50 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:57 02 November 2018
An organised crime gang with masked members from Ely, Beck Row and Willingham committed 200 burglaries costing victims £2 million in an 11-month crime spree -stealing BMWs, Audis, firearms, cash and jewellery.
The gang raided homes and businesses, including nearly 100 in Cambridgeshire, between February and December last year. They also admitted to being behind ram raids at the Co-op in Burwell and Littleport.
Often in broad daylight, three or four members would mask their faces using balaclavas and smash or force open doors or windows with tools found at the scene.
One of the victims had recently lost their wife and the thieves stole her jewellery and a purse, which police have since recovered.
Another victim had lost her husband and suffers from dementia. They stole his medals, which were later recovered.
They would steal specific items, mainly high-powered BMWs and Audis, firearms, cash and jewellery, all of which they could dispose of through contacts.
Stolen vehicles were put on false plates and left in residential parking areas before being used to commit further crimes.
Most were raids on homes, although commercial premises and ATMs were also targeted.
DI Harrison formed a team dedicated to the burglary series after police began linking offences in the East Cambs area in the spring of last year. High performance vehicles were being stolen, had their identities changed and were then later used in further crimes.
A valuable Audi RS Cabriolet was stolen and given a re-spray to make it look like an ordinary model and a £70,000 Audi S7 was stolen and then used in an attempted ATM robbery at the Co-op in Burwell in November last year.
More than one stolen vehicle would be used at any one time in conjunction with ‘clean’ or disposable vehicles.
Some vehicles were never found and were disposed of through garages, or ‘chop shop’ premises, including one in Algores Way Wisbech, where they were cut up for parts with a view to selling on or export.
The gang targeted homes in rural areas, where they could make easy getaways and stole high-performance vehicles to give themselves a better chance of out-running police.
In one incident on July 20, one of the gang drove a stolen red Audi TTRS through a railway crossing at Lakenheath in a bid to get away from police and the driver of an oncoming train had to take emergency action to avoid a collision.
The vehicle was later recovered at Beck Row travellers’ site in Suffolk. In the car was booty from eight separate burglaries, a firearm and seven puppies, which had also been stolen in a burglary and were later returned to their owner.
The gang had committed eight burglaries that day and seven burglaries the day before (July 19) and it was estimated about 50 burglaries that month, all using the red Audi.
Nine of the gang, mostly family members, close and distant, and from the traveller community, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
• Timothy Stone-Parker, 24, of Clay Way, Ely
• Richard Oakley, 27, of Sandy Park, Beck Row, Suffolk
• Johnny Oakley, 25, of Sandy Park, Beck Row, Suffolk
• Joseph Holmes, 21, of Schole Road, Willingham
• Charlie Albert Webb, 20, from Newton Flotman, Norfolk
• John Eli Loveridge, 42, of Greenways, Carleton Rode, Norfolk
• John Stanley Loveridge, 23, of Greenways, Carleton Rode, Norfol
• Danny Stone-Parker, 28, of Braintree Road, Great Dunmow
Joe John Spencer Loveridge, 19, of Winchester Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire
A tenth man, Simon Oakley, 45, of Alburgh Road, Hempnall, Norwich, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle yesterday (October 31) following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.
Firearms stolen in burglaries were either kept or moved on to other criminals: in February this year, a shotgun stolen in a burglary in Ten Mile Bank in February 2017 was recovered by police searching a property in Willesden, North West London.
Detective Inspector Craig Harrison, who led the investigation, said: “For members of this gang crime was just a way of life.
“In July last year they committed seven burglaries on one day and then eight the next and carried out about 50 for the whole month.
“Every one of those crimes had a victim so the trauma and devastation caused in quite a short space of time was immense.
“They clearly had no care at all for the impact their offending was having on communities, particularly in south and east Cambridgeshire, which were particularly badly hit, and, indeed, across the region.”
Offences were committed across Cambridgeshire including Littleport, Wisbech, Fordham, Burwell, Prickwillow, Dullingham, Ely, Waterbeach, Soham, Abington, Cambridge, Chippenham, Little Shelford, Isleham, Sawston, Hardwick, Willingham, March, Histon, Swavesey, Longstanton, Little Downham, Stow cum Quay, Doddington, St Ives, Stretham, Chippenham, Balsham, Cottenham, Cheveley, Elsworth, Swaffham Bulbeck, Fulbourn, Newmarket, Teversham, Boxworth, Yaxley and Friday Bridge.
The burglars will be sentenced at a later date, along with two other men - James Pateman, 55, of no fixed abode, and his brother, Thomas Brown, 54, of Fen Road, Chesterton, Cambridge - who were yesterday (October 31) found guilty of handling stolen goods following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.
The court heard the men were involved in the disposal of jewellery between March 12 and November 7, 2017,
Simon Oakley, who owns Stratton Quick Fit, a garage and workshop at Elite Business Park, in Salamanca Road, Norwich, had previously admitted possession of a firearm without a certificate and handling stolen goods.
He provided false registration plates and directed others to commit crime. He helped to hide stolen vehicles and pass them off as legitimate.
A brand new Volkswagen Golf R, which was stolen from St Ives in June last year, only two weeks after the owner had bought it, was recovered from Oakley’s home.
DI Harrison said: “This gang was single-handedly responsible for a crimewave in Cambridgeshire throughout most of last year and today they have been brought to justice.”