£5m car smugglers jailed as police seize stolen Mercs and BMWs being shipped to Cyprus
- Credit: City of London Police
Members of a £5million international car theft gang have been sentenced in court this week following a 14-month police operation where 120 stolen vehicles were traced which had been smuggled abroad.
Three of a gang of seven have already been jailed for a total of 20 years including a 48-year-old from the Isle of Dogs.
Dervish Chaglar, from Millharbour near Canary Wharf, is behind bars for six years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods after being found guilty at Southwark Crown Court in November.
Details have only emerged this week for legal reasons because three of the gang hadn’t appeared in court until June 29 when they were finally sentenced.
The long delay was partly caused by the Coronavirus emergency, the East London Advertiser understands from the City Police.
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Six of the gang have now been sentenced for smuggling top-of-the-range Audis, Mercedes and Range Rovers which had their trackers removed, false number-plates fitted and secretly shipped to northern Cyprus to be sold. The illicit trade was worth an estimated £5m.
Police managed to seize two Audis each worth £80,000, two Range Rovers each worth £60,000, a Range Rover Vogue, two BMWs and a Mercedes each worth £40,000. They also confiscated assets of £800,000.
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“We have removed an international criminal market by dangerous criminals,” Det Con Barry Butler said. “Serious and organised crime is a huge risk to national and international security.”
The operation led by City of London’s fraud squad relied on painstaking data from the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service which gathered evidence for the long-running trial.
The agency’s chief, Brett Mallon, said: “We have dismantled this group and severed its links to other organised crime gangs. It’s unfair that criminals think they can get away with such fraud.”
The men used identity fraud, bogus insurance claims and selling vehicles belonging to finance companies.
Dervish Chaglar and Mert Isik were the master brains who arranged the vehicles to be sold in northern Cyprus using their company Test Cars as a cover.
Couriers drove the vehicles through Europe once the gang had removed tracking devices.
Chaglar got six years while 29-year-old Isik, from Newington Green Road in Highbury, was jailed for four years, both for conspiracy to handle stolen goods.
A third gang member, Martin Woodhouse, 63, from Harrow, got six years for stealing an Audi and two Range Rovers.
Three more who appeared in the dock on June 29 were given sentences suspended for two years.
Ali Duman, 28, from the Milton Garden Estate in Stoke Newington, and Bradley Young, 40, from Whetstone in north London, were each given 18 months and made to do 150 hours unpaid community work for stealing Range Rovers and for fraud by false representation.
Mansha Khan, 50, from Manchester, admitted handling stolen goods and received 12 months with 150 hours unpaid work.
The seventh gang member, Stephen Chromik, 60, from Buckinghamshire, has admitted stealing a Range Rover and is due to be sentenced in August.