Gone In 60 Seconds car-theft gang who stole to sell on Auto Trader are jailed after raids on 11 country mansionsTrio sneaked into rural homes to steal keys to string of luxury vehiclesHaul included Ferrari, Audi R8, Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Bentley ContinentalDamian Royle, Paul Holden and Liam Hanbury pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary
11:53 GMT, 5 December 2012
A Gone In 60 Seconds crime gang who stole luxury cars to order from rural homes so they could sell them on Auto Trader were behind bars today.
The raiders sneaked into 11 country mansions in the dead of of night while their owners were asleep so they could take the keys to their prestige motors.
One five-year-old girl who disturbed the burglars woke up her mother and told her: 'Mummy, they’re monsters in the house' only to be sent back to bed and assured she was dreaming.
The mother later discovered the family car was missing.
Jailed: Liam Hanbury (left), Paul Holden (centre) and Damian Royle (right) stole luxury cars worth more than 500,000 from rural homes across East Lancashire and sold them on Auto Trader
Caught on CCTV: The trio, pictured with an unknown fourth person, outside one of the 11 country mansions they targeted during their crime spree in March and April last year
The gang were in and out of victims’ homes within a matter of seconds before stealing a range of luxury cars including a Ferrari, an Audi R8, an Audi Q7, a BMW X5, a Bentley Continental, a Range Rover Sport and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
They also planned to steal other luxury motors including a Bentley convertible, an Audi R8 V8 and an Audi Q7, all from the garage of one home in Bolton- by-Bowland, Lancashire.
On the same night, the gang were due to target a house in in Skipton, North Yorkshire for a Maserati and a Ferrari kept in a garage along with a Ducati motorcycle and three Triumph motorbikes.
But the three man gang were arrested following a long and protracted investigation during a police operation in which officers matched their DNA to the scene of a break-in the village of Trawden, Lancashire.
'Serious and organised crime': The raiders stole the keys to top-of-range motors by sneaking into homes at the dead of night while the owners were asleep
Stealth tactics: Burnley Crown Court heard tools were often used to break through doors and windows
Home invaders: One five-year-old girl who disturbed the burglars told her mother 'they're monsters in the house' only to be told to go back to bed
Detectives estimated the gang targeted cars worth 1.13m – stealing motors worth 543,000. Only one stolen car was recovered having been cut into pieces, while it was suspected the others had fitted with false identification details and sold on.
At Burnley Crown Court, career criminals Damian Royle, 29, of Odsal, Bradford; Paul Holden, 32, of Wyke, Bradford and Liam Hanbury, 30, of Shipley, Bradford, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
Hanbury and Royle were jailed for five years and Holden was given 40 months.
The court heard the gang travelled into rural areas across East Lancashire at night time last March and April 2011.
They broke into 11 homes and stole keys to the cars in Briercliffe, Bolton by Bowland, Whitworth, Slaidburn, Fence, Langho, Rimmington and Bacup.
High-end heist: A Ferrari like this one was among the vehicles stolen by the gang
'Very high rewards': The gang were in and out of victims' homes within a matter of seconds before stealing a range of luxury cars including an Audi R8 (above, file picture)
Police were on their tail: The gang was arrested after they stole the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution like the one pictured from a house Bacup, Lancashire
HIGH-VALUE HAUL: WHAT THE GANG STOLE
Range Rover Sport
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Benjamin Lawrence, prosecuting, said tools were often used to break through doors and windows, with the intention of pinching keys to high-value vehicles. In almost all the burglaries, the occupants were at home.
The prosecutor said: 'The defendants were linked by telephone evidence showing their movements. Also the fact that at one of the houses a balaclava belonging to Liam Hanbury was left at the scene.
'A mobile phone belonging to Paul Holden was left at the scene and a mobile phone which was stolen was recovered at Damien Royle’s address.'
The gang was arrested after they stole the Mitsubishi from Bacup and went to Trawden where they were seen loitering outside a house. They ran off, abandoning the car, and the balaclava was dropped.
Mr Lawrence said: 'A very limited amount of property was recovered. There is some evidence of vehicles being sold on Auto Trader. One was recovered having been cut into pieces, but for the most part the property was not recovered.'
Ill-gotten gains: The total value of the stolen cars, which also included a BMW X5 like this one, was nearly 550,000
Stylish: A Bentley Continental like the one pictured here was also among the cars taken by the gang (picture posed by models)
In their sights: The gang also planned to steal other luxury motors including a Bentley convertible, an Audi R8 V8 and an Audi Q7 (like the one pictured above), all from the garage of one home in Lancashire
Passing sentence Judge Jonathan Gibson said : 'You don’t need me to tell you this was serious and organised crime, with potentially very high rewards for those who were playing leading roles.
'The vehicles that you stole appear to have been disposed of more or less without trace and it’s clear certain individuals were making a great deal of money out of what was going on.'
After the case, Det Con Martin Legdon from Burnley CID said: 'These men deliberately travelled into Lancashire with the intention of breaking into people’s homes to steal high value and luxury cars.
'It’s been a long and complex investigation which has involved months of evidence gathering and I am pleased with the result.
Gone In 60 Seconds: The gang's modus operandi plan mirrored the 2000 movie starring Nicolas Cage (left) in which a gang of car thieves target luxury cars for a living
'As this case shows, offenders who live outside Lancashire are prepared to travel into the county to commit crime.
'My message to them is simple – if you come here to commit crime you will be targeted and put before the courts.'
He added: 'There is a great deal that people can do to significantly reduce the likelihood of being a victim of ‘car-key’ burglary.
'Car owners need to be on their guard and remember that offenders often manage to quickly steal keys left on show or left in prominent positions within their homes – people can prevent this by ensuring car keys are kept securely out of the way.'
The gang's modus operandi plan mirrored
the 2000 movie Gone in 60 Seconds starring Nicolas Cage in which a gang
of car thieves target luxury cars for a living.