Rural crime gang brought to justice after 2 year police operation
Eight men who carried out hundreds of crimes to the value of £1.7million have been brought to justice after a police operation to tackle rural crime stopped them in their tracks.
Police in Knutsford originally launched an operation to tackle plant machinery theft two years ago when a spate of thefts of plant machinery swept the rural parts of eastern Cheshire.
As time went on the net widened and the operation mushroomed with the investigation spreading across to the Greater Manchester area. Officers from Cheshire and Greater Manchester Police joined forces to close in on the suspects.
PC Mike Dawber who instigated the operation said: “As time went on the operation progressed, with more and more evidence pointing in the direction of the same group of people. It became clear this was an organised crime gang who were stealing farming machinery and Land Rovers across the rural area.”
As a result of the investigation led by DI Nigel Groom eight men were charged with 100 offences related to theft of machinery and conspiracy to steal and handling stolen goods.
Giorgo Arcaini was dealt with by Greater Manchester Police and sentenced to 38 months in prison.
Arcaini pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of fraud, and asked for 13 other theft and fraud offences to be taken into account.
Arcaini had been renting plant machinery and selling them on eBay, but was caught when the owner of a leasing company became suspicious and called police.
Mark Anstee, 41, formerly from Wigan pleaded guilty to 10 offences of theft and asked for asked for a further 82 to be taken into consideration which amounted to £1million while Michael Owens, 36, from Wythenshawe admitted eight theft offences amounting to £280,000.
They were finally arrested by Greater Manchester Police when they were caught in the act at a premises in Woodford. They were then handed over to Cheshire Police for investigation.
On 31 July 2012 Anstee was sentenced to four years and four months. Owens was sentenced to three years.
At this point in the investigation, others were beginning to come into the picture with them using stolen vans with false number plates to steal mini diggers.
Paul James Wilson, 28, from Hall Lane, Manchester was charged in July with two counts of theft and one of handling stolen goods. He has since been sentence to six months in prison.
Bradley Leese, 32, from Burbage Road, Wythenshawe was charged in July of three counts of theft and two of attempted theft was sentenced to 9 months in prison.
Darren David Taylor, 39, from Shawbury Road in Wythenshawe was charged with theft and attempted theft in July and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Nicholas Justin Thornton,41, from Westend Ingham, Lincoln was charged with two counts of theft and handling stolen goods. He was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.
Ben Sant, 23, of Austell Road, Woodhouse Park in Manchester was charged in October with handling stolen goods and is still going through the court process.
DI Nigel Groom said: “As a result of this prolonged and complicated investigation a number of men have been put behind bars for playing their part in a crime costing hundreds of thousands of pounds to the businesses affected.
“We are pleased to see that as a result of the hard work and dedication put in by our officers and those in Greater Manchester, we have brought their criminality to an end and they are now facing the consequences of their actions.”