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Gang who stole cars worth half a million pounds are foiled by amateur photographer who took their picture in the street after thinking they were acting suspiciously
- Five men stole cars worth half a million pounds across the West Midlands
- Amateur photographer spotted four people acting suspiciously in Birmingham
- Handed picture of the group to police helping them identify a stolen Mercedes
Five members of a gang who stole cars worth half a million pounds have been jailed after they were caught out by an amateur photographer.
The group targeted luxury vehicles including a BMW 6 series, an Audi TT and an Audi A7 from homes across the West Midlands between March 2015 and May 2017.
An amateur photographer spotted four people acting suspiciously in Erdington, Birmingham and handed a picture of the group to police, helping officers identify one of the vehicles as a stolen £27,500 Mercedes.
The image shows Jaguar Land Rover employee Sikander Farooq, 36, entering the vehicle after giving money to 36-year-old Gavin Hladkiy, who had brought the car to the meet-up with 25-year-old ‘career burglar’ Nathan Somers, 25, the Express and Star reported.
This picture, taken by a suspicious amateur photographer, helped police tackle the gang. Sikander Farooq is seen getting into a stolen Mercedes with Gavin Hladkiy behind him and Nathan Somers in the black hoodie
The picture, which also showed Alimaan Hussain, 27, whose family lived yards away, sparked an investigation.
One of the officers said: ‘The man had his digital camera with him and took decent photos.
‘It was a gut reaction prompted by something that looked dodgy to him as the men had arrived in different cars for a meeting in a side road in broad daylight. It is possible we might not have broken the gang without those pictures.’
Alimaan Hussain, and his brother Adnan, 28, both admitted conspiracy to commit burglary.
Sikander Farooq (left), of Stetchford, was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to handle stolen goods, and handling a stolen VW Golf VRM. He was jailed for five years. Gavin Hladkiy, right, confessed handling the stolen Mercedes and was jailed for two years and three months
Adnan was sentenced to three years and nine months while Alimaan, a man of previous good character who said he was ‘drawn into’ the conspiracy at a late stage, was handed a two-year suspended sentence with 200 hours of unpaid work.
Farooq, of Stetchford, was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to handle stolen goods, and handling a stolen VW Golf VRM. He was jailed for five years.
Aqeel Hussain was jailed for two years and three months after admitting two counts of burglary and an attempted burglary.
Aqeel Hussain (left) was jailed for two years and three months after admitting two counts of burglary and an attempted burglary. Nathan Somers, right, of Birmingham, was jailed for three years after admitting burglary and handling stolen goods
Somers, of Castle Vale, Birmingham, was jailed for three years after admitting burglary and handling stolen goods.
Gavin Hladkiy, of Perry Barr, confessed handling the stolen Mercedes and was jailed for two years and three months.
The men were sentenced on November 13 at Wolverhampton Crown Court for the offences between 28 October 2015 and 3 May 2017.
Detective Sergeant James Byrne, of Staffordshire Police, said: ‘This was a well-organised operation where this group of men were targeting high-end, performance cars across the Midlands.
‘Our detectives have worked hard and shown great tenacity to piece together these men’s activities since the investigation began in April 2017 through to these convictions and pleas and today’s sentencings at crown court.’
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