Thieves jailed for plot to raid lay-by lorries
A PLOT to steal high-value goods including £174,000-worth of superglue from lorries came unstuck when the gang of thieves responsible were jailed last week.
The seven men travelled from Essex and London to plunder heavy goods vehicles parked up in lay-bys on the A2 between Canterbury and Faversham.
They were each found guilty of conspiracy to steal when they appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday.
Describing the seven as "a professional and organised crime", Judge Simon James sentenced them to a total of sixteen years and two months in prison.
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The gang came to Kent in a stolen Mercedes Sprinter van with false number plates, with a plan to slash curtains on lorry trailers and steal their valuable loads.
On November 19 last year, a Ford Focus was stop-checked at the London-bound Gate Services on the A2 near Canterbury at 2am.
Half an hour later, police were in a lay-by on the A2 London-bound after Brenley Corner with an Italian HGV which had a slash in its curtain.
They noticed a black Vauxhall Vectra parked in a slip road on the opposite side of the road, but as the officers approached, it drove off at speed.
The car was stopped shortly after in Boughton High Street, and the driver, 36-year-old Christopher Stafford, was arrested on suspicion of theft.
Detectives later discovered a Polish-registered HGV trailer containing £174,000-worth of superglue had been broken into in the lay-by where the Vauxhall Vectra had first been spotted.
The stolen Mercedes Sprinter van was also found parked at the rear of the trailer, loaded with some of the glue.
Officers continued to check on HGVs in lay-bys up and down the A2 that night, and found slashes in a total of fourteen lorries.
Then at 4.15am, the Ford Focus was again stopped on the A2 London-bound at Gravesend, and the five men in the vehicle – Huett, Barry, Crabb, Crabb and Bradstock – were all arrested.
Investigating officer DC James Unwin, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "These men were calculated and determined to steal from lorries, by slashing the curtains and removing their loads.
"Victims were unaware until later of what was happening. A thorough investigation has led to these men being imprisoned.
"Anyone committing these type of offences in Kent and Essex will be targeted by our officers and brought to justice."