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Gang members jailed for 50 years


2:46pm 22nd December 2010

14 gang members, who stole £4m worth of high-value cars before selling them on to unsuspecting customers, have been jailed for a total of 50 years.

The group took the cars after stealing keys in burglaries in the Yorkshire and Humber region and the north of England.

At Leeds Crown Court the defendents admitted taking part in the "sophisticated" operation.

One was given a suspended sentence. The others were handed prison terms ranging from 18 months to 6 years.

They admitted charges including conspiracy to burgle, conspiring to handle stolen goods and conspiring to defraud.


They were sentenced as follows:

  • Nevada Smith (29) of Pony Paddocks, Toll Bar, Doncaster, received an overall sentence of 5 years.
  • John Doyle (24) and Dean Doyle of Brendon Walk, Bradford have both been sentenced to 6 years. 
  • Richard Butler (26) of Laurold Avenue, Hatfield and Manzoor Akhtar (22) of Blackmoorfoot Road, Bradford both received 18-months each for their lesser role in the gang.
  • Francis Lupton (20) of Bewerley Crescent, Woodside, Bradford, was sentenced to 2.5 years.
  • Nicholas Tidswell (23) of Knowles Lane, Holmewood, Bradford, received a sentence of 5.5 years.
  • Matthew Richard Holmes (29) of Thorpe Edge, Bradford, was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
  • Anthony David Jackson (29) of Hyde Park Road, Hyde Park, Leeds, was sentenced to 6 years.
  • Arthur Gaskin (23) of Smithies Lane, Barnsley, received 3 years.
  • Anthony Nolan (51) of Eldon Street, Barnsley, received a 2-year custodial sentence, and Craig Stanley (35), was sentenced to 4 years.
  • Gary Swinden (52) of Field Drive, Barnsley, who operated as facilitator, providing false number plates and convincing forged vehicle documentation on a prolific scale, received a sentence of 7 years.
  • Victoria Laws (41) of Field Drive, Barnsley received a sentence of 52 weeks suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within the next 12-months.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Hoffman described Nevada Smith (29), as the common denominator and the “hub of the wheel” that crossed over two different burglary teams and as the middle man responsible for changing the ID of stolen vehicles. Judge Hoffman regarded Smith as “high up” in the organisation and that he would travel to be nearby to where the burglaries were being committed and was actively encouraging this activity. Smith, he said, part of a well organised and well coordinated criminal gang that was professional and operating on a serious scale.

In sentencing Dean Doyle (28) and his brother John Doyle (23), His Honour Judge Hoffman described them as ‘professional criminals’, for their role in the large scale theft of vehicles. John Doyle was, he said, “a habitual offender, dedicated to crime” and Dean Doyle was described as “a career criminal who must expect long sentences.' He also described Swinden as having a vital role as without log books these vehicles could not be so readily sold on and at as much profit. He also commented saying he turned his skills as a graphic designer to criminal purpose on a whole sale scale.

Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Atkinson, of West Yorkshire Police, is the Senior Investigative Officer for Operation Yankee and she said:

“These sentences reflect the true scale of this highly organised and highly sophisticated criminal gang. £4 million worth of vehicles have been stolen and later sold as a result of the actions of this gang.

“Matthew Holmes was the head of the gang stealing vehicles to order, and Nevada Smith operating as the middle man, was able to sell stolen vehicles on a huge scale, through the criminal cloning of licence plates and forged documentation supplied by Gary Swinden.

“In effect, they were running an extremely lucrative business, selling on stolen vehicles to unsuspecting purchasers, who lost their money once the true identity of the cars was revealed.

“I am delighted by today’s result and the joint working of the four forces of Yorkshire and the Humber. Without this combined effort supplying staff, resources, joint funding and shared knowledge, an investigation of this complexity would not have had such a successful outcome in such a short space of time.

“The officers involved have shown real tenacity in capturing and bringing to justice this highly effective criminal gang. The capture and sentencing of such career and professional criminals such as Nevada Smith and Matthew Holmes has had a positive impact upon the communities that have been blighted by their pernicious criminal activities.”

As well as support from the four police forces of Yorkshire and the Humber and, Regional Intelligence Unit, Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART), and Lancashire Constabulary, the multi-agency operation included specialist support from the DVLA and ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Services (AVCIS). His Honour Judge Hoffman commended all officers involved in the investigation.

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