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Car thieves fitted luxury cars with tracking devices to steal them

A gang of car thieves fitted tracking devices onto luxury vehicles at airport car parks so they could steal them when the owners had returned home.

A car theft gang replicate they contactless keys of luxury cars at airport car parks and fitted tracking devices to the vehicles, so they could steal them when the owners returned home, sometimes months later.and then steal the cars from the owners’ home.

After making the copied keys, the gang would trace the cars by hiding a GPS tracking device inside the cars’ bodywork. 10 of the vehicles involved were hire cars. Some of these included a Mercedes, a Bentley Continental and a McLaren sports car. 9 were interfered with whilst they were kept at Stress-Free Parking at Luton Airport, Bedfordshire. Another 5 were interfered with whilst they were at Andrew Murray’s car-workshop business, BHP Bodyshop,  in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

The scheme left police “scratching their heads”, Reading Crown Court heard. But the gang responsible was caught out when undercover police carried out a covert operation using a Trojan car. Detectives took a grey Range Rover fitted with a recording device to BHP Bodyshop for a minor cosmetic repair. 

When the car was returned, police found that part of their recording equipment had been removed. They also found that the second car key held by the police no longer worked for the vehicle.

Neil Moore, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution’s explanation is whilst at Mr Murray’s place, a third key had been made ready for it to be stolen later. However, almost certainly when the tracking device was being fitted the covert device fitted by the police, or part of it, was found. “

“Realising at that stage that it was a Trojan car sent to spy on them, the conspirators removed the police recording equipment. Unfortunately for them recordings were still being monitored and retained.”

In an attempt to cover their tracks, the thieves wiped the third key details off the car, and removed the original two as well, according to the prosecution. They then restored the original key they had but were unable to add the second one as the police still had it.

The “main man”, Khalid Mahmood, was not on trial as he had admitted conspiracy to stealing cars. The court heard he had been involved in a seperate conspiracy to dispose of stolen cars. Ghulan Butt, Amran Iqbal, Irfan Rehman and Andrew Murray are all accused of conspiracy to steal motor vehicles. 

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