Gang went on 16-day vehicle theft spree

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A gang of young thieves who went on a 16-day spree of stealing cars, motorbikes and mopeds have been locked up for a total of eight years.

The four-strong gang, who have more than 100 previous convictions between them, stole seven vehicles worth around £14,000 in the Daventry area last May and June.

On two occasions a number of the gang were arrested and released, going on to commit more offences while on bail.

Three men – Tyler Testro, Matthew Brown, and Joshua Benson – and 17-year-old Brett Wykes were all jailed at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, after admitting conspiracy to steal.

Testro, aged 21, of Plough Close, Daventry, and Brown, aged 21, of Coleridge Walk, Daventry, were sentenced to 30 months, while Wykes, of William Road, Long Buckby, and Benson, aged 18, of Hood Road, Daventry, were sentenced to 18 months’ detention.

Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, told the court the first offence was on May 24, when the gang broke into a unit on the Drayton Field industrial estate, stealing bags containing car keys from the canteen.

They stole a £10,000 Ford Focus, and within an hour tried unsuccessfully to withdraw money from a cash machine in Crick. Over the next two days, they stole a £400 Vauxhall Vectra and a £1,000 Yamaha motorcycle.

The defendants were arrested and bailed, and on June 6 stole a Suzuki motorcycle worth £3,000 from the Tesco distribution centre, near Crick. They used a BMW to tow it in a failed attempt to start it, and later dumped it in a field near Kilsby.

Benson, Brown and Testro were arrested again, with police finding items including metal bars, knives, gloves and balaclavas in the BMW.

But they were again released on bail, and two days later stole three mopeds worth £2,100 – from Daventry, Welton and West Haddon – and were all later found burnt out. The final incident was captured on CCTV, when the gang tried to steal a bike from a recovery vehicle in London Road, Daventry.

The court was told the men have a total of 102 previous convictions between them: 50 for Testro, 27 for Brown, 13 for Benson and 12 for Wykes. Many of the offences were burglary, dishonesty, handling stolen goods and aggravated vehicle taking.

Although the men denied being involved in all of the offences, they were sentenced on the basis that they were equally culpable.

The court also heard Testro took part in the theft at Crick, despite being electronically tagged.

Judge Richard Bray said: “This was a sustained period of offending in the summer of last year, during which you offended repeatedly while on bail. This has caused a great deal of concern and distress to the owners of the vehicles.”

A fifth defendant, Daniel Howard, aged 20, was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work for handling stolen goods. He kept one of the stolen bikes at his house in Milton Keynes.