Two Walsall brothers caught by West Midlands Police with parts cut from more than Â£500,000 worth of stolen cars have both been jailed for five years.
Hamza and Eizam Riasat, both of Walstead Road in Delves, took luxury cars from driveways across the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Derbyshire in a theft racket described as being on an “industrial scale”.
Police recovered parts from 36 cars when they raided lock-ups in Elmore Green, Bloxwich, and Darlastonâ€™s Franchise Street but itâ€™s suspected they may well have dismantled and sold on many more vehicles.
The shifty siblings were rumbled by West Midlands Police when detectives followed a tracker device signal built into a BMW X6, stolen from Solihull on 12 July 2012, to the Franchise Street unit rented by Eizam Riasat.
Officers found parts from cars worth a total of Â£100,000 and more from vehicles âˆ’ largely high-end BMWs but also Minis and Mercedes âˆ’ valued at around Â£430,000 when a warrant was executed at the Elmore Green site.
Hamza (25) and 39-year-old Eizam both denied conspiracy to handle stolen car parts and instead claimed the car â€˜chop shopâ€™ was being run without their knowledge by a Polish man who was sub-letting the garage.
They refused to name the mystery man and could provide no contact details for himâ€¦and on Monday (Feb 9) at Wolverhampton Crown Court they were jailed having been found guilty at an earlier hearing.
The judge went on to describe it as a “professional, organised enterprise conducted on an industrial scale”.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Deborah Humphries, said: “We suspect many of these vehicles were being stripped down within hours of them being takenâ€¦we believe parts were being sold by various means including eBay and other online sales sites.
“These were â€˜keylessâ€™ thefts no doubt carried out using a device which overrides the carâ€™s on-board computers but, although no force was used, the upset and distress caused to the victims canâ€™t be understated.
“One of the owners described her Mini as her â€˜pride and joyâ€™ and was shocked to later see photos of it in pieces.
“We found some of the ID marks on the cars had been ground down but vehicle examiners used their specialist, covert knowledge to help us identify some of the cars and link them to thefts.”
The cars were stolen between May and August 2012.