Hampstead car theft led police to Lithuanian gang that stole 400 cars worth £10million
- Credit: Archant
A Lithuanian gang that stole £10million worth of cars was smashed after officers traced a vehicle taken in Hampstead.
Eleven men were jailed at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday over the thefts of more than 400 cars from across London.
The investigation began when the Met’s Stolen Vehicle Unit tracked down a car stolen in Hampstead in August 2011 on an industrial estate in Kent.
Police uncovered an “organised crime group” who were stealing hundreds of cars and taking them to warehouses, where the high-value parts were stripped and wrapped in black plastic before being shipped abroad, mostly to Lithuania.
The leader, Raimundas Matulevicius, 28, a bricklayer of Firbank Close, Beckton, received a six-year sentence and his right-hand man Tomas Natalevicius, 31, of no fixed address, was handed five years.
Both had denied conspiracy to handle stolen goods and were convicted following a trial.
The others pleaded guilty to the same charge and received sentences of between six months and 15 months.