Seven people who conspired to burgle houses and garages and steal cars across the Milton Keynes area have today been convicted to a combined total of 33 years in prison.
It is believed to be the largest conspiracy investigation in the history of the Milton Keynes local policing area, with more than 170 offences.
Richard Barrett, aged 22, of Taranis Close, Wavendon Gate, Daniel Simpson, aged 20, of Jonathans, Coffee Hall, Michael Walsh, aged 21, of Mullion Place, Fishermead, Andrew David, aged 33 of Perran Avenue, Fishermead, Rhys Roberts, aged 19, of Walshs Manor, Stantonbury, Paul Camara, aged 35 of South 10th Street, Central Milton Keynes were handed their sentences today at Aylesbury Crown Court.
A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also appeared before the courts alongside the six men.
Barrett pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit dwelling burglaries, one count of conspiracy to commit non-dwelling burglaries, one count of conspiracy to commit burglaries of commercial premises and one count of conspiracy to commit theft of motor vehicles.
Simpson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit dwelling burglaries, one count of conspiracy to commit non-dwelling burglaries and one count of conspiracy to commit burglaries of commercial premises.
Walsh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit non-dwelling burglaries, one count of conspiracy to commit burglaries of commercial premises and one count of conspiracy to commit theft of motor vehicles.
David has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to handle stolen goods.
Roberts pleaded guilty to one count of burglary in which a car was stolen, one count of conspiracy to commit burglaries of commercial premises, one count of theft of a motorbike and one count of theft of a pedal cycle.
Camara pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to handle stolen goods.
The 16-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary, one count of burglary non-dwelling and one count of conspiracy to commit burglaries of commercial premises.
In total there are 178 crimes that make up the various offences, committed between 15 April 2013 and 26 October 2013.
The men also asked for a further 32 offences to be taken into consideration.
The total value of items stolen was in excess of £200,000, with more than £90,000 worth of criminal damage caused in the process of carrying out the crimes.
Barrett was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Simpson was sentenced to five years in prison.
Walsh was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.
David was sentenced to six years in prison.
Roberts was sentenced to three years eight months in prison.
Camara was sentenced to four years in prison.
The 16-year-old boy was given an 18 month detention order.
Det Insp Matt Darnell, who led the investigation, said: “The sheer scale of the offences committed by these men is unprecedented in the Milton Keynes area and had a massive impact on our local communities.
“Their actions over a six month period saw residents’ concerns over burglaries across the town increasing, particularly those in the cycling community, who were targeted for a number of high value bikes.
“A significant amount of work went into this complex investigation and this has been reflected in the fact that those charged have all entered guilty pleas as the evidence against them was too strong to argue with.
“I would like to thank the victims of these men for their cooperation and support during this investigation, and whose help bring these criminals before the courts and punished for what they have done.
“Burglary will remain to be a priority for the Force in the Milton Keynes area and we will continue to robustly police those who would commit this type of crime.
“I am pleased with the sentences handed down by the courts today as this reflects the impact their actions had and sends out a clear message to those that would commit this sort of crime – if you break the law you will be caught and you will be punished.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This case involved significant conspiracies to commit burglaries and steal, amounting to 178 recorded offences. For six months during 2013 (April – October) a gang of determined, prolific and ruthless burglars based in Milton Keynes initially targeted garages and sheds and then moved on to motor vehicles, dwellings, and commercial premises.
“The gang’s leaders were Richard Barrett and Daniel Simpson with Andrew David as the principal handler of the stolen property.
“Paul Camara and a 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, played a lesser role, and Michael Walsh and Rhys Roberts joined the conspiracy in June and July respectively, but all were enthusiastic and active participants.
“Their crime spree was well planned and organised with most offences taking place at night. At the peak of offending, some nights in excess of 10 properties were systematically targeted in one night.
“High value and easily disposable property was stolen including bicycles, motor bikes, golf equipment, cigarettes and alcohol.
“The value of the damage and stolen items is estimated to be in excess of £300,000.
“All the incidents were evidentially linked to the defendants with a combination of text messages, phone data and taxi booking information.
“The overwhelming evidence led to their guilty pleas at Aylesbury Crown Court on 17 June.
“These criminals left a trail of destruction behind them, thought they were untouchable, and have had an enormous impact on the local community.
“It is not a coincidence that the crime wave ceased upon the arrests of the gang.
“The CPS and police have a duty to protect the public and take this kind of criminality extremely seriously and built a strong case, linking the incidents, to present the court with the full extent of this gang’s offending.
“Community impact statements were also obtained from community leaders and a senior police officer describing the unprecedented devastation this gang caused within the Milton Keynes community.
“This allowed the Judge to sentence appropriately for this appalling campaign of theft.
“This case sends a clear message to those involved in this kind of criminality that we will robustly prosecute them to ensure that justice is done, and that they will pay with their liberty.”