Prolific classic Mini thieves face jail time
Two men who were responsible for the theft of more than a dozen classic Mini cars across the south east have been jailed for a total of six-and-a-half years.
Stephen Fiddimore, 36, of Shearwater, Longfield and 28-year-old Sam Metten, of Polsteads, Basildon in Essex, ran an eBay business from a lock-up garage in Horton Kirby that dealt in specialist Mini parts.
According to Kent Online, officers carried out searches at the garage in Lombard Street, as well as others in Cross Lane West, Gravesend, Carrington Road, Dartford, and Crayford Way, Crayford, on April 28 last year.
They also seized two stolen vehicles from Fiddimore and Metten's homes. They believe the men may have been involved in the theft of more than 40 vehicles in the south east between August 2014 and May 2015.
Police explained that the pair used their specialist knowledge to get into the vehicles and tamper with the immobilisers in order to drive them away.
Fiddimore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal motor vehicles and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.
Metten denied the offences, but was found guilty of conspiracy to steal motor vehicles after a week-long trial and jailed for three years.
Detective Inspector Caroline Clooney, of the Met's Organised Vehicle Crime Unit, told The Evening Standard: "These men systematically targeted the owners of classic Minis across the south east. Many of the vehicles had been lovingly restored and were the owners' pride and joy.
"Discovering that their cars had been stolen obviously caused them much distress and inconvenience.
"I am pleased with the sentences handed down and hope it sends out a message that the Met is serious about tackling car crime and will always seek to destroy the activities of individuals involved in it."