Final suspect in £1.5m car thefts is tried

A man called in to help find the tracking device on a BMW stolen by a gang of car key burglars has been spared jail.

Dwayne Webley was the last in a string of defendents involved in the theft of around £1.5 million worth of high performance cars from homes throughout Staffordshire and the West Midlands. They have all faced justice at Wolverhampton Crown Court over the past few months.

The 26-year-old from Millington Road, Low Hill was called in to help after a BMW M3 had been stolen from Meadowbrook Gardens in Codsall on May 25, 2010. He helped identify the location of the vehicle’s tracking device so that it could be deactified, the court was told.

Mobile phone traffic connected him to others involved with the gang that trawled the area for seven months organising raids at homes to get ignition keys for high-value cars parked on drives and in garages in the middle of the night

Webley admitted handling the stolen BMW M3 and was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work by Judge Martin Walsh.

He had no involvement in any of the other work of the gang who were responsible for at least 44 burglaries, an attempted burglary and thefts of vehicles between May and December 2010.

The racket was smashed by a joint police operation involving officers from two forces. Thirteen of the crooks have now been locked up for a total of 68 years and nine months.

Judge Walsh told an earlier court hearing: “It is no exaggeration to say that over the period of the conspiracy the West Midlands and parts of Staffordshire were subjected to a campaign of burglary of such nature and extent that every residential address in those areas was considered a potential target. This was organised crime on a significant scale involving the systematic theft of high value motor vehicles.”

The gang’s leaders – 28-year-old Martin Steadman and Darren Percival, 37 – have each been sent to prison for 11 years.