Land Rovers being stolen and stripped for parts is nothing new, in fact since production of the Defender stopped last year thefts of the iconic vehicles have risen sharply.
One thief decided to cut out the middleman and steal parts directly from Jaguar Land Rover. An employee of the company stole parts valued at over £2million from the company’s Gaydon site in Warwick over a period of 3 years.
Simon Wensley, ran an automotive business as a cover which he used to sell the stolen parts until he was caught last year and convicted after a 4 week long trial at Warwick Crown Court. Wensley, of Kingsbury Road, Coundon, was charged with theft and two accounts of fraud, which he denied. The 56 year old is currently serving a five-year jail term for the thefts that occurred between May 2010 and early 2013.
Wensley had worked for Jaguar Land Rover at the site in Gaydon since 2006 through his company called Wenztec LTD as a logistics co-ordinator for the vehicle safety department. It became apparent during an audit that parts were being ordered in but were not in the stock, parts for older engines such as fuel injectors were being ordered in masses, this raised flags and an investigation into the over orders began. In fact over 2,000 injectors had been ordered without consent, this is enough for more than 400 engines.
Audits revealed that 4,500 parts, not just injectors were ordered by Wensley for vehicles which were no longer in production, the parts with a retail value of over £2m could easily be sold on the secondhand market. During a search of Wensley’s home, stolen parts valued at around £23,000 were recovered.
Using the Jaguar Land Rover works van it was easy to steal the parts from the site, loading them up with legitimate parts that were out for delivery. Wensley had also defrauded HMRC by claiming motor expenses for using his own vehicle for work when he was actually using the JLR van. Judge Andrew Lockhart QC had told Wensley before sentencing him for 5 years:
“This case concerns the systematic, planned, persistent and cynical theft of a quite staggering number of parts from one of the great Midlands institutions, one of the flagship companies in this country.
“It was a staggeringly dishonest breach of trust.
“Your thefts were unrelenting, sometimes 20 to 30 fuel injectors ordered at one time.
“The loss to Jaguar Land Rover was staggering. A business of whatever size has the right to be protected by these courts from thefts of this nature.”