A smash-and-grab organised traveller gang has admitted to more than 200 burglaries in an 11-month crime spree.
In one incident captured on video the brazen group drive a stolen red Audi TTRS through a railway crossing in a bid to get away from police and the driver of an oncoming train had to take emergency action to avoid a crash.
When the vehicle was eventually recovered at a travellers’ site in Suffolk there was a massive haul 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 group- who would mask their faces with balaclavas, wear forensic suits to outwit police and then smash open doors with tools they found- were so prolific that in one day in July last year they committed seven burglaries, eight the next, and a total of 50 for the whole month.
The gang drove this stolen red Audi TTRS through a railway crossing in a bid to get away from police
When the stolen red Audi was finally recovered a large haul of stolen goods were found including these puppies, who were returned to their rightful owner
They would target specific items such as high-powered BMWs and Audis, firearms, cash, jewellery and even animals, which would then be fenced through their contacts.
Stolen vehicles were then put on false plates and left in residential parking areas before being used to commit 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 in November last year.
The gang also targeted ATMs as well as home and businesses all over Cambridgeshire and the surrounding areas
The damage at a BP garage in Littleport in December 2017 after a raid from the gang
Another stolen dog recovered by the Cambridgeshire police. The gang would often target high value objects
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 raided more than 100 businesses and homes across the Cambridge region between February and December last year, and would often target rural areas, where they could make easy getaways and stole high-performance vehicles to give themselves a better chance of out-running police.
ATMs, including several in East Cambrideshire, were also targeted.
Norfolk suffered a similar number of burglaries to Cambridgeshire while other offences took place in Suffolk, Essex and Bedfordshire.
Nine of the gang, mostly family members, close and distant, and from the Traveller community, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
- Charlie Albert Webb, 20, from Newton Flotman, Norfolk.
- John Eli Loveridge, 42, from Carleton Rode, Norfolk
- John Stanley Loveridge, 23, from Carleton Rode, Norfolk.
- Joseph Holmes, 21, from Willingham.
- Danny Stone-Parker, 28, from Great Dunmow.
- Timothy Stone-Parker, 24, from Ely.
- Joe John Spencer Loveridge, 19, from Sandy, Bedfordshire.
- Richard Oakley, 27, from Beck Row, Suffolk.
- Johnny Oakley, 25, from Beck Row, Suffolk
A tenth man, Simon Oakley, 45, of Alburgh Road, Hempnall, Norwich, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle yesterday following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.
Johnny Oakley, 25, from Beck Row, Suffolk (pictured left) and Richard Oakley, 27, from Beck Row, Suffolk
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.
‘One victim had recently lost his wife and they stole her jewellery and a purse, which we have since recovered for him.
Joe John Spencer Loveridge, 19, from Sandy, Bedfordshire (pictured left) and Timothy Stone-Parker, 24, from Ely
‘Another victim had lost her husband and suffers from dementia. They stole her husband’s medals but we managed to recover those too.’
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
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, from Chesterton, Cambridge – who were yesterday found guilty of handling stolen goods following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.
John Eli Loveridge, 42, from Carleton Rode, Norfolk and Charlie Albert Webb, 20, from Newton Flotman, Norfolk
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 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.
Danny Stone-Parker, 28, from Great Dunmow and Stanley Loveridge, 23, from Carleton Rode, Norfolk
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.’
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.
Joseph Holmes from Willingham. 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’