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Great Britain

Amateur sleuth foils gang who stole £500k of luxury cars after taking snaps of them acting suspiciously

AN amateur photographer helped cops catch five luxury car thieves after taking a candid photo of the gang looking suspicious.

The men had stole cars worth half a million pounds from people's driveways across the West Midlands - between March 2015 and May 2017.

The helpful passer-by had seen four people looking shifty in Erdington, Birmingham so took a sneaky snap and handed it over to the police, unknowingly helping them bust the clan.

Jaguar Land Rover employee Sikander Farooq, 36, was captured climbing into one of the stolen cars - a £27,500 Mercedes after giving money to 36-year-old Gavin Hladkiy.

Hladkiy had bought the car to meet up with 'career burglar' Nathan Somers, 25, the Express and Star reported.

Alimaan Hussain, 27, who also in the photograph, only lived a few yards away from where the picture was taken.

One of the officers said: "The man had his digital camera with him and took decent photos.

"It was a gut reaction prompted by something that looked dodgy to him as the men had arrived in different cars for a meeting in a side road in broad daylight. It is possible we might not have broken the gang without those pictures."

Alimaan Hussain, and his brother Adnan, 28, both admitted conspiracy to commit burglary.

It is possible we might not have broken the gang without those pictures.

Adnan was sentenced to three years and nine months while Alimaan, a man of previous good character who said he was 'drawn into' the conspiracy at a late stage, was handed a two-year suspended sentence with 200 hours of unpaid work.

Farooq, of Stetchford, was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to handle stolen goods, and handling a stolen VW Golf VRM. He was jailed for five years.

Aqeel Hussain was jailed for two years and three months after admitting two counts of burglary and an attempted burglary.

Somers, of Castle Vale, Birmingham, was jailed for three years after admitting burglary and handling stolen goods.

Gavin Hladkiy, of Perry Barr, confessed handling the stolen Mercedes and was jailed for two years and three months.

The men were sentenced on November 13 at Wolverhampton Crown Court for the offences between 28 October 2015 and 3 May 2017.

Detective Sergeant James Byrne, of Staffordshire Police, said: "This was a well-organised operation where this group of men were targeting high-end, performance cars across the Midlands.

"Our detectives have worked hard and shown great tenacity to piece together these men's activities since the investigation began in April 2017 through to these convictions and pleas and today's sentencings at crown court."

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