Stolen car gang jailed for more than 16 years

FIVE men have been sentenced to a total of more than 16 years’ imprisonment for their part in a �750,000 stolen car ring at Stansted Airport.

Today’s sentences came after Essex police investigated the theft of at least 40 high-value cars from Stansted Airport.

The crimes were discovered after gang members hired an Audi A4, a Mercedes C180 and a Vauxhall Astra from hire companies at the airport in April 2009.

All three cars were not returned and were later recovered with cloned identities.

The gang, who were based in east London, received stolen cars taken from homes across London and the Home Counties where burglaries had been committed to obtain the keys before being driven away.

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The Lithuanian-nationals specialised in handling stolen BMWs, Mercedes, Audis and top-of-the-range Volkswagens.

Krzystof Nowicki, a 38-year-old unemployed man of no fixed address, and 34-year-old unemployed Eduadas Masiulis from Grays Inn Road in London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to handle stolen vehicles earlier this year.

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The remaining four defendants, 35-year-old carpenter Joanas Bondarenko, of Walthamstow, Vidmantas Lajauskas, 33, of Dagenham, Nerijus Jarusevicius, 33, of Dagenham, and Kamil Dudko, 23, of Leyton, were convicted following an eight-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court which ended last month.

Bondarenko was convicted in his absence, having failed to attend his trial while Dudko fled halfway through it. Both men are still at large.

At Chelmsford Crown Court, Bondarenko was identified as the ringleader and given a seven-year prison sentence. Lajauskas and Jarusevicius were each given three-and-a-half-year prison sentences while Dudko was given a 22-month prison sentence. Nowicki received a one-year suspended prison sentence.

After their sentencing Investigating officer, Detective Constable Jean Seager, said: “This was organised crime on a large scale, but the men made the mistake of linking their crime to the airport where our sophisticated security systems proved to be their undoing.

“The high level of security around UK airports meant that we had access to information and databases and were able to identify vehicles and bank accounts that led us to arrest all six men.”

The crimes were detected because of the enhanced security arrangements surrounding Stansted Airport and officers were able to interrogate information captured on security databases at the airport which enabled them to identify vehicles and bank accounts that led to the arrests.

Eduadas Masiulis is due to be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court tomorrow.

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