Six jailed for sophisticated stolen vehicle export scam

Six men have been sentenced to a total of 20 years for their part in supplying and exporting millions of pounds worth of stolen vehicles to Northern Cyprus.

Jul 3, 2020
By Tony Thompson
One of the stolen vehicles.

City of London Police, which led the investigation, identified in excess of 120 stolen vehicles linked to the organised crime group, with losses to industry of around £5 million.

The men obtained high value cars in the UK using identity fraud, fraudulent insurance claims and the sale of vehicles belonging to finance companies. Gang members Dervish Chaglar and Mert Isik then organised for the stolen vehicles to be sold to an illicit market in northern Cyprus using their company ‘Test Cars’ as a cover.

Couriers drove the vehicles through Europe to northern Cyprus once the crime group had removed tracking devices, re-registered vehicles and used fake numberplates to avoid detection.

Over a 14-month period, City of London Police seized a number of cars that were destined to be sold by the gang. These included two Audi Q7s worth £80,000 each, two Range Rover Velars worth £60,000 each, a Range Rover Vogue worth £40,000, two BMW 5 series worth £40,000 each and a Mercedes AMG worth £40,000.

In total, the police operation disrupted sales, and seized assets from the group, in the region of £800,000.

City of London Police Detective Constable Barry Butler said: “Serious and organised crime is a huge risk to national and, in this case, international security. By disrupting not only the gangs involved, but seizing their criminal assets and frustrating their funding, we have successfully removed an international illicit criminal market that, in all likelihood, was utilised by dangerous criminal groups in the UK.

“This operation, and the subsequent court results, would not have been possible without the hard work of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) gathering key evidence and the National Crime Agency, which assisted us greatly in all aspects of the investigation.”

NaVCIS Head of Unit Brett Mallon added: “I’d like to thank everyone in NaVCIS who supported the investigation. The court result is a great example of our commitment to combating serious and organised crime. We don’t believe it’s fair that criminals think they can get away with obtaining millions of pounds worth of vehicles through fraudulent means. That’s why we’re proud to have worked with City of London Police to dismantle this group, severing its links to other organised crime gangs and preventing further serious offences.”

The group was sentenced to 20 years in total. Chaglar was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods while Isik was sentenced to four years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods. Martin Woodhouse was sentenced to a total of six years for the theft of an Audi Q7 S Line and two Range Rover Velars.

Mansha Khan pleaded guilty to the offence of handling stolen goods and was sentenced to one year, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work. Bradley Young was sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work, for the theft of a Range Rover and fraud by false representation.

Ali Duman was sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work, for the theft of a Range Rover and fraud by false representation. A seventh member of the crime group, Stephen Chromik, pleaded guilty to the theft of a Range Rover and is due to be sentenced in August 2020.

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