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Vehicle thieves jailed after trail leads police to outbuilding at Stockbury

Wednesday 11th September 2019

A RAID on outbuildings at Stockbury has put two prolific vehicle thieves behind bars for four-and-a-half years each.

Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime squad found four stolen vehicles in the process of being modified and repainted to change their appearance. The raid on January 3, 2018, also unearthed doors, bonnets and engine components linked to four other reported vehicle thefts.

Other parts seized had security identification numbers drilled out or removed in attempts to avoid detection.

The stolen items were found to be linked to reports of thefts from across Kent, including those of a tractor and a horsebox, dating back to December 2017, but some parts were stolen as far back as November 2014.

The court heard on April 1 last year that officers investigating a stolen tractor from Mereworth spotted a Ford Transit van that had been seen in connection with the theft at stables in Crowborough, East Sussex. Inside the back of the van they found Joby Wilson moving a hay bale. He was arrested on suspicion of theft of the tractor. A search of the stables resulted in the discovery of a stolen horsebox and motorbike. Anthony Bishop was arrested on April 26, 2018, in Sittingbourne after he was stopped by officers and found to be driving a lorry with a stolen crane attached.

CCTV images, forensic evidence and phone data connected 46-year-old Wilson, from Tunbridge Wells and 48-year-old Bishop, from Sittingbourne - who both denied being involved - to the discovery of vehicles at the Stockbury site.

Both were found guilty on September 10 of conspiring to steal and handling stolen goods at Maidstone Crown Court and jailed.

Detective Inspector James Derham, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Wilson and Bishop are prolific offenders who repeatedly stole vehicles from across Kent for a number of years. I have no doubt that they would have carried on offending.

“The tenacity of our officers investigating this highly complex case has meant that they have now been brought to justice. We understand the concerns members of the public have regarding vehicle theft and I hope the outcome of this case demonstrates how seriously we take these offences and will continue to do so.”