A team of professional burglars stole a quarter of a million pounds worth of Land Rovers by breaking into homes in the dead of night and stealing vehicle keys.
Three members of the gang were jailed for a total of 14 years over 10 meticulously planned raids which took place in Leeds and surrounding areas over a two-year period.
Leeds Crown Court heard the gang members left no forensic evidence at the scenes of the break-ins, which were often carried out at family homes as young children slept upstairs.
Door locks were snapped in to order to gain entry to properties and steal keys. At some homes the group clearly knew which vehicle they were targeting and would move cars of lesser value out of the way in order to get to the Land Rover or other luxury vehicle.
The gang members, all from the Belle Isle area of Leeds, were also aware of police movements and sent text messages warning each other about an unmarked police vehicle.
The gang was closely associated to a handler, based at Whitehall Road industrial estate, who was able to strip the vehicles and sell them on.
They carried out the burglaries between July 2009 and February 2011 in the Wortley, Tingley, Whitkirk, Methley, and Alwoodley areas of Leeds as well as Wakefield, Castleford and Dewsbury.
Five members of the gang pleaded guilty to burglary and stealing vehicles.
Kevin Woodward, 25, who was involved in nine of the 10 offences and described as the ‘linchpin’ of the operation, was jailed for seven years.
Woodward is already serving a three-year sentence for violence and burglary offences.
Mark Peat, 25, of Jarvis Walk, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Tom Murphy, 21, also serving a sentence for burglary, was jailed for two-and-half years.
Andrew McCulloch, 31, of West Grange Green, was made the subject of a two-year community order and ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work.
Peter Docherty, 26, of Nursery Mount, was given a two-year community order and 225 hours unpaid work.
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said: “It is abundantly clear that you are a team of professional burglars. You were skilled in what you did – you quietly and efficiently entered properties and stole property.”
Several families had been left traumatised at having their homes targeted as they slept.
The judge praised West Yorkshire Police who targeted the gang due to the high number of organised criminals in the county who were targeting homes in order to steal cars.