A gang of hi-tech car thieves targeted £60,000 Land Rovers in a £2.5m crime spree, a court heard during the trial of Manjit Sandhu, Heena Bux, Khuram Zaman, Mohammed Islam, and Geoffrey Cairns.
The gang had purchased specialised equipment to bypass security systems in high end Range Rovers with keyless technology, the same equipment used by professional locksmiths.
The gang also burgled homes in east and west London, stealing car keys and taking the owners luxury vehicles from their driveways in minutes, a jury heard during the trial.
Manjit Sandhu, 32, the alleged ring leader ran the crime ring which targeted over 100 vehicles between March 1, 2015 and August 17, 2016.
Heena Bux, 21, acted as a spotter for the gang, identifying cars to steal whilst Khuram Zaman, 19, Mohammed Islam, 20, and Geoffrey Cairns, 55, would drive the cars away where they were fitted with false number plates and sold in both the UK and overseas.
Cairns admits one count of conspiracy to steal but denies the other charges of burglary and converting criminal property.
Jurors were told that Sufiyan Mahmood, 19, Faisal Khan, 23, and Humza Bhariwala, 23, all pleaded guilty to related offences including conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal.
“The first way in which they were being stolen was simply by breaking into the owner’s address, normally through a front door that wasn’t double-locked and simply taking the car keys from wherever that person may have left them overnight.“
The thieves would burgle houses for vehicle keys, getting in and out of the houses in a window of less than three minutes.
The gang purchased specialist equipment to gain entry to the keyless vehicles allowing them to steal a car in just seconds, this hi-tech equipment facilitated the men in the theft of 122 vehicles to sell in the UK and abroad.
One of the stolen Land Rovers was found hidden in a shipping crate in Felxistowe containing furniture, bound for Uganda, Africa. The vehicle had false plates and wasn’t listed in the shipping manifest.
The court heard how the gang targeted Range Rovers and Land Rovers worth up to £60,000. The car thieves were arrested in August 2016 after an investigation by the police’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit.
The gang await sentencing as the trial continues.