Six Men Jailed For Targeted Robberies On HGVs
Friday, 28 September, 2012
Six men have been jailed today in connection with a number of staged thefts and robberies of Heavy Goods Vehicles. West Yorkshire Police's Economic Crime Unit led the investigation into the crimes which took place along the M1/A1 corridor.
Four of the men had pleaded not guilty to the offences and elected to go to trial. However, following a three week trial at Leeds Crown Court, David Mark Kirk, Craig Gerrard Barraclough, Adam Roy Dixon and Anver Yacub Valli were convicted.
The men appeared before Leeds Crown Court today and heard how they will spend a total of 26 years behind bars.
Kirk (49) of Seacroft, Leeds will serve 3 years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods, Barraclough (43) of Whitkirk, Leeds will serve 4 years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods, Dixon (44) of South Milford, Leeds will serve 3 years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods, James Hodges (23) of Morley, Leeds will serve 8 years for robbery, Kyle Bedford (26) of Belle Isle, Leeds will service 3 years for assisting an offender and Jason Lee Reynolds (40) of Castleford will serve 5 years for conspiracy to steal.
The men were arrested in 2010/11 following an 18 month investigation into a number of thefts and robberies targeting Heavy Goods Vehicles. The men were working in two groups, with one using an area of land in North Yorkshire to store the stolen property and the other operating from a yard in the Keighley area.
One of the offences, which happened in February 2010, involved the robbery and kidnap of a foreign driver from a service station at Darrington in South Yorkshire. The driver was forced into the rear of a van and driven to a different county and held against his will while £130,000 worth of whiskey was stolen. Two men, Hodges and Bedford pleaded guilty to robbery and assisting an offender respectively at an earlier hearing.
Craig Barraclough and David Kirk were the handlers and responsible for the movement of the stolen property - they used Adam Dixon's land to store the stolen goods. Stolen property in excess of £300,000 was found at Dixon's home when Police executed a search warrant in November 2010. Three stolen vehicles were also recovered having been used in some of the thefts. The property was identified as having been stolen in 18 separate offences up and down the country, some as recent as two days prior to the police attending the address. Stolen goods were also found at Kirk's home.
The second group was headed by Reynolds pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from HGVs at an earlier hearing. He was working from a yard in Keighley. Anver Valli was a handler for this team and property stolen from one of the offences was recovered from his home address in April 2010.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Lawrenson of West Yorkshire Police's Economic Crime Unit said: "We are pleased with the sentences handed down to these men. These crimes were well organised conspiracies and the goods were moved through sophisticated networks. The gangs used a high level of intimidation against the HGV drivers which included them kidnapping one and holding him in a van.
"Today's sentences send out a clear message that we will not tolerate organised crime in West Yorkshire and we will deal strongly with anyone involved.
"Investigations such as this are continuing across the Force to identify negative roles models and we would urge residents to report any suspicions they have about those who appear to be living way beyond their means.
"Ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and ask yourself the question why should they?"
Police still want to trace Nicky Clark (36) who is wanted in connection with the thefts and robberies. Anyone with any information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the Economic Crime Unit on 101.
Valli (38) of Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury is due to be sentenced at a later date after being found guilty of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and money laundering.
Confiscation proceedings will now begin.