Crooked mechanic who handled BMW stolen in Leeds house burglary is jailed

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A crooked mechanic who handled stolen cars from burglaries including a BMW taken after a raid on a house in Leeds has been jailed for three-and-a-half-years.

Kestusis Bernotas lived and worked at a lock-up workshop in Dewsbury, which police raided and found the £11,000 BMW along with a stolen Skoda Rapid car, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The court heard Bernotas's DNA was found on items inside the BMW when police raided the garage on August 30 2017.

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Bernotas handed himself in to police and was charged with handling stolen goods.

Kestusis BernotasKestusis Bernotas
Kestusis Bernotas

He appeared at Leeds Crown Court on January 19 2018 when a trial date was listed before Bernotas was bailed

Prosecutor, Graham O'Sullivan said in late April 2018 an Audi worth £30,000 was stolen in a house burglary in Doncaster.

The court heard police received an anonymous tip-off about suspicious activity at a defunct MOT centre in Birstall near Batley.

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Mr O'Sullivan said police went to that centre on May 8 2018 and found Bernotas, who told officers he was working on his own car.

Mr O'Suliivan said the stolen Audi had been stripped down but police confirmed it was stolen when the chassis number was checked.

Bernotas, of Stonehyrst Avenue, Dewsbury admitted three charges of handling stolen goods.

Ben Thomas, mitigating, said: "He was a man who had a heroin addiction. This was the reason he got involved in this.

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"He was working but he was also spending money on feeding this addiction."

Mr Thomas said needles used for drugs were found at the lock-up workshop in Dewsbury where Bernotas had been living and working.

Mr Thomas said in 2007, Bernotas's partner in Lithuania was killed in a car crash and his grandmother and uncle have recently died after suffering from cancer.

Mr Thomas said Bernotas has not used drugs since August 2019, adding: "He apologises to the victims and wants to remain in the UK."

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Jailing Bernotas for three-and-a-half-years, Recorder David Gordon told him: "You were a qualified mechanic, using your skills to break up cars, no doubt so the parts could be sold or their identities concealed."