MEMBERS of a car cloning gang have been jailed over a nationwide conspiracy worth £1.5m in which vehicles were stolen across the UK before being taken to Leeds.
A court heard the plot involved the illegal sale of 188 stolen vehicles during the highly sophisticated operation lasting four years.
The two men in charge of the plot - Joseph Redmond and Luke Campbell - posed as motor traders in order to obtain training in how to use specialist equipment used to steal and clone vehicles. Campbell also assumed the identity of a dead child in order to trick unsuspecting car buyers at his business premises in Armley.
Stolen cars were brought to the city where arrangements were made to ‘make over’ vehicles so they could then be sold on the used car market. Many of the cars were shipped off to Ireland for sale. Det Insp Phil Jackson, who led the investigation, said: “The gang went to great lengths to commit these offences, equipping themselves with locksmith skills and passing themselves off as legitimate car dealers with mainstream dealerships.”