Wealden police warn about Defender thefts

Land Rovers targeted by thieves in Wealden villages Police warn

Police are warning Land Rover Defender owners to be vigilant around the Wealden villages after two Defenders were stolen and a third attempted theft in Mayfield and Rotherfield during the past weekend. A white Defender was stolen at some point Saturday night from St Leonards Lane, Mayfield, it was later recovered in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the vehicle was reportedly damaged and the contents of the vehicle were stolen, including a Makita drill.  A red Defender stolen from Town Row, Rotherfield, in the early hours of Sunday was found at Poultwood Golf Course, Higham Lane, Tonbridge, Kent, it had been used in a burglary.

There was also a failed attempt to steal a Defender from Station Road, Mayfield, on Sunday afternoon, thieves caused damage to the vehicle but were unable to steal it. Officers believe that these incidents could very well be linked linked and are warning Land Rover owners to think about how and where they park their vehicles overnight.

Anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious at any of the rural locations in East Sussex or who may have other information is asked to contact police online or phone 101, quoting serial 143 of 25/02. Alternatively, please visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

'Defender Your Defender' Campaign Launched By Police After Land Rover Thefts Rise 1

‘Defender Your Defender’ Campaign Launched By Police After Land Rover Thefts Rise

A campaign to help Defender owners protect their Land Rovers has been launched by Police forces all around the country after a spate of thefts of the iconic vehicles.

The sudden rise in thefts of Land Rover Defenders has been attributed to the popularity of the vehicle, the sudden price hike since production ceased and the ease of breaking the vehicles for the parts which has led to the ‘Defend Your Defender’ initiative being launched by the police.

Police state that many of the vehicles are shipped abroad either complete or stripped and sold for spare parts.

Officers said motorists could reduce the risk of their pride and joy being stolen by taking a few simple steps.

How to ‘Defender your Defender’


Park your Defender out of sight, for example in a garage is ideal, however if you have to park on the drive, it is suggested they are covered by security lighting and CCTV.

Use a forensic security marking kit for vehicle parts.

Fit a tracker system.

Install a hidden battery isolation or cut-off switch.

Use high visibility signs to deter thieves.

Photograph any unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs which could aid identification if the vehicle is ever stolen.

Layer security, the more layers of security that you install the more deterred a thief may be.

Anyone with any information on any Land Rover Defender thefts should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Delph Lane Land Rover Chop Shop Owner Sentenced 2

Delph Lane Land Rover Chop Shop Owner Sentenced

A man arrested during an investigation into a “chop shop” garage dealing in piles of stolen car parts has been jailed.

Michael Burton, 29,of Kingsway, Whiston appeared at Liverpool crown court where he admitted handling stolen goods, possession with intent to supply cocaine, dangerous driving and assaulting a constable.

He was arrested on November 14 after officers went to Delph Lane, Whiston following reports of suspected stolen parts and vehicles being stored at a premises there.

While they were carrying out inquiries, a Mercedes car was seen to make off from the location. It was stopped nearby on warrington Road and Burton was arrested.

Delph Lane Land Rover Chop Shop Owner Sentenced 3
The “chop shop” stolen car parts factory where criminal Michael Burton operated (Image: merpol)

A total of 14 identified stolen vehicles and parts were seized in addition to cocaine from his home address.

Burton was jailed for five years and eight months. He was also disqualified from driving for four years.

Delph Lane Land Rover Chop Shop Owner Sentenced 4
The “chop shop” stolen car parts factory where criminal Michael Burton operated (Image: merpol)

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Sephton, of Merseyside Police, said: “This was an excellent result following a comprehensive investigation and an early guilty plea by Burton. If anyone has information on similar locations please come forward and I can assure you that we will act on all information provided.

Delph Lane Land Rover Chop Shop Owner Sentenced 5
The “chop shop” stolen car parts factory where criminal Michael Burton operated (Image: merpol)

“Chop shops take and redistribute stolen vehicles and parts, which not only causes distress and inconvenience to those who have vehicles stolen, but also massive dangers if the vehicles are sold on to unsuspecting members of the public.

“Burton was additionally involved in the supply of drugs, which shows that such criminality also funds other serious and organised crime, all of which causes such harm in our communities.”

Delph Lane Land Rover Chop Shop Owner Sentenced 6
The “chop shop” stolen car parts factory where criminal Michael Burton operated (Image: merpol)

Anyone with information on vehicle crime or drug supply is asked to call police on 101, or contact charity Crimestoppers anonymously and for free on 0800 555 111.

How To Secure A Land Rover Defender Against Theft For Little Cost 7

How To Secure A Land Rover Defender Against Theft For Little Cost

The Land Rover Defender is one of the most stolen vehicles since production of the iconic vehicle. The aim of this article is to show you how to secure a Land Rover Defender against theft for little cost.

There are plenty of companies cashing in on Defender theft right now with products that can easily be made at home, or use other materials to prevent the theft of things such as bonnets or doors, or even the whole vehicle.

The following tips could mean the difference between loosing your prized vehicle or its valuable parts or waking up to find that your pride and joy has been stripped or worse stolen altogether.

How To Secure A Land Rover Defender Against Theft For Little Cost:

To prevent your doors from being stolen, simply drill out the heads of the bolts or alternatively fill them with liquid metal.

To prevent your bonnet from being nicked, remove the drivers side wing top blank panel and grind the strengtheners on the back down, fit a strong metal plate on the underside of the wing and pop rivet in place, refit outer blank panel, this prevents the bonnet cable from being accessed.

The next step to protecting your Defenders bonnet is to fit a guard or cover over the bonnet release cable where it exits the OS/F wing to where it enters the latch mechanism. You can achieve this with some tubing, or plate, anything that will prevent the cable from being pulled and allowing the bonnet to be popped.

Fit strong lamp guards which have to be removed by accessing nylok nuts from inside the engine bay, doing so will make access to the standard alarm horn wires difficult and prevent them from being cut from behind the NS/F headlamp.

If you have a BBUS, battery backed up siren, buy an extension loom and place the siren away from where it can be removed and chucked in a bucket of water!

On later Defenders you should armour both underseat locker compartments to slow down access to the ECU and battery etc.

Place the OBD socket inside the locked compartment.

Fit part no LR031883 to prevent the shorting of the indicator lights flashing if alarm is set off.

All of these things can be done for very low cost, and will certainly slow down or even put off a thief altogether. Coupled with pedal locks, steering locks, CCTV and other layers of security it decreases the chances of your Land Rover Defender from being stolen.

Credit: Gary Done @ Landywatch

Land Rover Stolen By Cheeky Man

Land Rover stolen by ‘Cheeky’ Thief in Rednal Hill Lane Rubery

Police are searching for a man described as having ‘pronounced cheekbones’, who is suspected of stealing a Land Rover Freelander, without keys, from the owners driveway in Rubery during the early hours of Thursday morning.

The black Land Rover, number plate BK11YJN, was parked on a drive in Rednal Hill Lane when it was taken at around 4.30am on Thursday, April 6.

The Land Rover may have been left unlocked as it was stolen without the use of keys.

West Mercia Police are now looking for a white male, aged in his mid 20s, in connection with the crime.

He is described as having a slim build with light brown short hair and pronounced cheekbones.

He is thought to have been wearing dark blue tracksuit trousers with a hoodie or jacket of a similar colour.

Anyone with information relating to the theft is urged to contact the Hagley and Rubery Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101, quoting incident number 0065s.

Skipton Magistrates

Slapped Wrist for man who stole Landrover Defender from Draughton

A thief that stole a Land Rover Defender from Draughton and smashed it into a wall, causing £15,000 damage to the vehicle, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison – suspended for two years at court yesterday.

Adam Virr, 29, admitted to aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance at Skipton Magistrates court on Tuesday. The court heard how the offender from Cleckheaton hot-wired the Land Rover Defender worth £22,000 outside the owners house in Draughton during the early hours of June the 10th last year.

Virr also assaulted a police officer at Harrogate Police Station, punching him in the face after his arrest on June 10, he received an eight week suspended sentence, to run concurrently.

He received a five year driving ban with a condition of taking an extended driving test before he can drive again.

The vehicle had a tracker fitted which alerted the owner the Defender had been stolen via a text message from the tracking company, said prosecutor, Charles Macrae.

The Police were also alerted and the Landrover was spotted a short while later by a firearms officer who followed it to Hebden Bridge, Calderdale. Virr, drove recklessly through a 30mph zone and then proceeded to crash into a parked car before hitting a high wall in Lee Mill Road, Hebden Bridge.

The 29 year old ditched the Landrover, ran off, and was apprehended by police officers less than 150 metres away in a wooded area. He was found to be carrying a tool with a flat bladed screwdriver, which police suspected had been used to hot-wire the vehicle.

Virr was taken into custody, and it was while at Harrogate Police Station that he punched an officer in the face, causing bruising, and cracked teeth.

Virr, already on a 16 month sentence, suspended for two years imposed by Bradford Crown Court for unrelated matters, was told by magistrates he would be sent to prison if he committed another offence in the next two years.

He was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to the owner of the Landrover, to cover his insurance excess, and £119.70 to the police officer.

Our thoughts, its no wonder so many Defenders are being stolen with such lenient sentencing.

Defender Stolen In Kent

Kent Police Looking For Land Rover Defender Stolen From Hildenborough train station Tonbridge

Land Rover Defender ceased production in January 2016 and since then there has been a surge in thefts of the iconic vehicles.

Some Land Rover owners are now fighting back by using social media to track down their vehicles, posting on groups such as Landywatch which is run mainly by police officers in their spare time. With over ten thousand members the group has had success in making vehicles too hot to handle and finding stolen Land Rovers.

Police in Kent are appealing for witnesses after a Land Rover Defender was stolen from near Hildenborough train station early Wednesday evening.

The green Defender which was left in Hildenborough Train station car park is believed to have been taken at some point on Wednesday.

A police spokesman said: “Officers investigating the theft of a Land Rover in Tonbridge are appealing for witnesses.

The Land Rover was left in a car park close to Hildenborough train station, in Tonbridge.

“It is reported the green Land Rover Defender was stolen between 7.50am and 9.15pm.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 01622 604100 quoting reference YY/6064/17.

Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Land Rover Thieves Southwest

Southwest Devon & Cornwall Land Rover Thieves Jailed

A gang of thieves targeting rural areas in both Devon and Cornwall have been jailed for more than 16 years after being told that they were ‘a plague on the hard-pressed rural community’ by the judge.

The gang which comprised of family members Daniel Small and his two sons recruited the help of friends and neighbours which targeted farms and small businesses all over Devon and Cornwall to store and sell Land Rovers, trailers and farm machinery they stole during a £281,470 crime spree across the Southwest.

The two sons James and Daniel carried conducted 31 organised raids over a period of seven months which included thefts from isolated farms, riding schools and many other businesses across the region.

A Judge at Exeter Crown Court told them that their thefts were organised and directed against a farming community in which many businesses are struggling to survive.

They normally struck overnight and the raids spanned an area from East Cornwall to Plymouth, North and West Devon, Teignbridge and the South Hams.

They started shortly after Daniel Small junior, was cleared of taking part in a previous series of raids on rural businesses in May 2015.

They carried on until a tracking device on a stolen quad bike led police to a traveller’s site near Bridgwater in January 2016.

The thefts included horse boxes, trailers, quad bikes, Land Rovers, and a rigid inflatable boat from Queen Anne’s Marina . The two sons even stole a pair of jet skis which they were seen trying to ride unsuccessfully at Wembury beach, near Plymouth.

The gang were caught by months of work by detectives who linked the movements of the stolen vehicles, as tracked by automatic number plate recognition devices on main roads with the phone activities of the two brothers.

The police team also used analysis of their phone use to put them at the scenes of many of the burglaries and show them in touch with their father as they moved the stolen goods.

A lot of the agricultural machinery ended up at a farm in Wembury owned by a friend of the family. This ensured it was not at Small’s scrap yard nearby when police went to look for it.

Daniel Small senior, aged 60 of Linketty Lane, Plympton, denied but was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to steal.

James Small, aged 36, of Berkshire Drive , Plymouth , and Daniel Small, aged 25, of Ward Place , Plymouth, both admitted the two counts of conspiracy to steal.

Maurice Isaacs, aged 44, of The Paddocks, Woolavington Road, Puriton, denied but was found guilty of one charge of conspiracy to steal.

Barry Stephens, aged 59, of South Barton Farm, Wembury, admitted handling some of the stolen machinery.

Daniel Small Senior was jailed for four years, James Small was jailed for five years, Daniel Small Senior for four years and eight months, and Isaacs for three years.

Stephens was jailed for ten months, suspended for a year, and four others, who played lesser parts, received non custodial sentences from Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

He told the defendants:”The police inquiry identified the thefts as the work of an organised crime group. I have read an impact statement from a representative from the National Farmers Union Mutual insurance.

“It describes how the loss of these vehicles and equipment at an optimum time can lead to large financial losses to the farming community as well as having a psychological and mental impact on farmers.

“The NFU says in the last five years that claims for tractor thefts alone have been £32 million, not including cars and other machinery.

“That illustrates the significant impact these crimes have on rural communities at a time when farm incomes are depressed.

“It goes without saying how important the farm economy is to Devon and Cornwall. Isolated farms are very vulnerable to a determined gang.

“James and Daniel Small Junior for a considerable time made it their business to look for targets before going back to steal. I do not accept that all these thefts occurred by happenstance when they were looking for scrap metal.

“The evidence shows they scoured the neighbourhood. Daniel Small Senior, for his part, was not visible at the burglaries but was involved in planning, organising and executing this conspiracy.

“I have read a number of victim statements which underline the stress and inconvenience which each burglary caused to farms and other traders in the community.

“In my judgment this was a initially a successful and profitable operation which clearly had a significant impact on many people.”

The judge praised the police for the combination of ’good old fashioned’ legwork and the use of numberplate and phone cell site technology which cracked the case.

Mr Donald Tait, prosecuting, said the bulk of the raids were carried out by the Small brothers under the direction of their father and Stephens’ farm at Wembury was used to store some of the equipment.

The family moved on to carry out a string of thefts of Land Rovers, many of which were taken to Isaacs’s yard at Puriton. One was recovered when he was raided but the others are still missing.

He said other crimes included the theft of a Yodel van in Plymouth and the burglary of a 79-year-old woman’s home in Lamerton, near Tavistock in which her bedroom was ransacked but nothing stolen.

The two brothers stole jet skis in one raid which they were seen trying to ride at Wembury, close to Stephens’ farm, shortly afterwards.

They even broke into Queen Anne’s Battery marina in Plymouth on Christmas Eve 2015, and stole a £21,000 rigid inflatable, which was later found in Plymouth by its owner after a friend spotted it.

Mr Tait said:”The Small family from Plymouth were the principle organisers of this crime wave. Daniel Small Senior did not often leave home but was in touch with the others by telephone.

“They stole anything that was not nailed down. The principle people were Small and his sons. He was the principle organiser. All this stealing caused a lot of heartache to a lot of people.

“There was a lot of inconvenience where farmers were involved. It had an effect on their businesses. You can imagine the disruption when a livestock seller is unable to take their stock to market.”

At his trial Daniel Small Senior claimed to be a born again Christian who had found God and turned his back on a life of crime. The jury were not convinced and found him guilty.

Isaacs said a neighbour at the site was ringing the Land Rovers and it was nothing to do with him. He claimed to be at a steam fair in Dorchester when one vehicle was taken to Puriton

Barristers representing the brothers said the thefts had not been a planned campaign but had come about when they had gone into the countryside looking for scrap metal.

Mr Tom Bradnock, for Stephens, said he was drawn into the scheme by his friend but knew of Small’s reputation and should have realised the goods he received were stolen.

He said he is struggling to pay off huge debts at his small farm and is the sole carer for his elderly and infirm mother.

The full list of alleged victims is:

Thorn Farm, Bridgerule, Holsworthy. Trailer. £16,000. October 2004.

Ley Combe, Modbury. Tractor £5,000. August 2007.

Coombe Farm, Lifton. Trailer £2,504. December 2014.

Callisham Farm, Yelverton. Loader £15,000. January 2015.

Haytown, Horrabridge. Quad bike £1,000. July 2015.

Westmac, Bittaford x 2, Shogun 4×4. £1,500. August 2015. Ford Focus, Volvo. £6,900. November 2015.

Tor Town Farm, Moortown, Tavistock. Trailer, high lift, other tools. £19,000. August 2015.

Station Yard, South Brent. Telescopic handler, 2 jetskis, tools, £23,700. October 2015

Romford, Essex. Transit. £6,000. November 2015.

Beacon Riding School , Bittaford. Land Rover Discovery. £6,000. December 2015. Generator. £355. December 2015.

Queen Anne’s Battery Marina , Plymouth. Ribeye RIB. £21,000. December 2015

Yappers Farm, Tamerton Foliot. Tipper, trailer, compactor. £19,000. January 2016.

Edgecumbe Road Motors, Lostwithiel. Defender. £12,000.

Shipsen Hill Farm, Yealmpton. Land Rover pickup. £10,000. Sept 2015

Whitley Farm, Thurlestone, Kingsbridge. Defender and tools. £19,000. Oct 2015.

Mike Rowe Autocare. Parkway Industrial Estate, Plymouth. Discovery £13,000. November 2015.

Plymouth Van and Car Sales, Valley Road , Plymouth. Discovery. £10,500. November 2015.

Well Park Farm, Dean Prior. Land Rover. £9,000. November 2015.

Lizwell Farm, Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Defender. £10,000. December 2015.

Monks Cross, Callington. Defender and tools £10,000.

Woodland Barton Farm, Avonwick, Totnes. Trialer. £4,000. December 2015.

Meads Farm Harford, Ivybridge. Defender pickup. £11,000. Deceember 2015.

Tin Park riding stables, Cornwood. Horse box. £3,500. December 2015.

Lutton Farm, South Brent. Quad bike. £6,000. December 2014.

Dorwill Cattery, Ivybridge. Horse trailer. £250. December 2015

South Barton, Brixton. Suzuki quad bike. £6,000. January 2016.

Forder Valley stables, Plymouth. Horse trailer £4,250. December 2015.

Stoke Damerell Business Centre, Church St, Plymouth. Yodel transit van. £11,700.

House at Lamerton. burglary, nothing taken.


Stolen Land Rover engines worth £3m recovered in dawn raids

Four men have been arrested following a heist of ‘£3 million worth of engines’ from Jaguar Land Rover.

The car manufacturer worked with West Midlands Police to investigate the theft at its Solihull plant which took place between 31 January and 1 February.

The stolen engines were found during raids in Sutton Coldfield and Warwickshire, following their theft on 31st January, which saw a tractor unit enter the Land Rover site in Solihull and hitch up to trailers full of the engines. The lorry entered the site a second time, again hooking up to trailers where the engines were stored.

Following investigations, officers raided locations in Kingsbury Road, Minworth, and Bermuda Industrial Park, in Nuneaton resulting in four men aged 29, 40, 47 and 56 being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.

“This has been a fast-paced inquiry and after searching two locations today we have seized what we believe are the stolen engines,” said Solihull Investigation Team Detective Inspector, Darren Lee.

“This is a significant find and we continue to investigate the theft.”

All the engines have been recovered, with the four men bailed until the 22nd of March pending further enquiries.

Officers are now appealing to anyone who witnessed the theft or saw anything suspicious at the Minworth or Nuneaton sites in the last few weeks to come forward.

Hi Tech Thieves Steal High End Range Rovers

Hi-tech car thieves target £60,000 Land Rovers In £2.5m Crime Spree

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.

Sandhu, Bux, Zaman, and Islam deny conspiracy to commit burglary, to steal, and convert criminal property.

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.