Teen member of bragging Leeds car burglary gang is locked up
A teenage member of a burglary gang who targeted luxury cars across Leeds then bragged about their criminal exploits on social media has been locked up for 34 months.
Police found photographs of cars stolen during burglaries on 18-year-old Joel Cheetham's phone, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Cheetham, of Oak Tree Grove, Gipton, admitted a burglary in Ring Road, Cross Gates, in December 2018, where a Ford Fiesta was stolen.
Leeds burglary gang caught after they bragged on social media about stealing £500,000 worth of luxury carsHe and other gang members then went to a fast food restaurant in Oakwood where a bank card stolen in the Cross Gates burglary was used to buy food.
Cheetham also pleaded guilty to five counts of handling stolen goods in relation to cars stolen in burglaries in Woodlesford, Swarcliffe and Oulton after police found pictures of the cars on his phone and incriminating posts on his social media.
Cheetham claimed today (Dec 23) he was only paid £30 on two or three occasions after being told by a man to sell stolen cars on.
But after a trial of issue Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told the court: "I'm satisfied so that I'm sure that he was deeply involved in a criminal enterprise where houses were burgled and cars stolen and keys stolen."
A probation service spokeswoman said: "He does present as very immature and naive and tells me he is easily led."
Sentencing Cheetham to 34 months in a young offender institution, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Cheetham: "You have come and given evidence which I have rejected because it simply wasn't true."
Cheetham was the last member of the gang to be sentenced after three others were locked up last month.
One of the gang, 21-year-old Frankie Allwork, from Seacroft, posed in front of a stolen £60,000 Audi A6 while holding a pair of mole grip pliers, which are used to break into homes to steal car keys.
The image was sent to a notorious West Midlands-based social media account called Mr Dingers - dingers’ being slang for stolen cars - where offenders anonymously show off about their crimes and revel in the number of likes’ and shares’ they receive.
Allwork’s face was obscured with an emoji when the picture appeared online, but officers found the original unedited image of him with the identifiable stolen vehicle when they seized one of his accomplice’s phones.
A video had also been posted on the Mr Dingers account showing the suspects driving along to music in the Audi, which had been stolen in a burglary in Red Hall Lane, Shadwell, on January 7 this year, again with them showing off a pair of mole grip pliers.
The original video, which received 33,000 views, was also recovered on one of the mobile phones seized by officers.
The wider police investigation focused on the theft of vehicles worth more than £568,000, which included a spike in offences targeting homes in the Rothwell and Woodlesford areas between June and December last year.
James Holroyd, 20, of Halton Moor Road, Leeds, pleaded guilty to a burglary in Ashwood, Whinmoor, in January this year, where a £40,000 Land Rover Discovery and a £30,000 Ford Ranger were stolen from the driveway.
Bryn Kerry, 20, of Inglewood Drive, Seacroft, pleaded guilty to the theft of a Seat Leon that was stolen from a New Year’s Eve house party in Coldwell Road, Cross Gates, on January 1 this year. He texted Holroyd who met up with him and who later admitted handling stolen goods in relation to the offence.
Kerry was also convicted of an attempted burglary in Hazel Road, Whinmoor.
He also admitted handling stolen goods over an iPhone found at his mother’s address after it was linked to a burglary in Mayfield Avenue, Cross Gates in December last year.
A £40,000 BMW and £100,000 worth of jewellery and electrical items were taken in the break-in.
Allwork, of Kentmere Avenue, Seacroft, was sent to a young offenders institution for four-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to three offences of burglary and two of theft.
Holroyd was sentenced to 34 months. Kerry was sentenced to 32 months.