Man ordered to pay more than £1 million for handling 19 stolen vehicles

A man has been ordered to pay more than £1 million for handling 19 stolen vehicles, police said.

Chirag Patel, 40, of Firth Road, Croydon, was on November 29 given a confiscation order for the vehicles, which were valued at more than £700,000, Scotland Yard said in a statement.

Patel was last year sentenced to eight years in prison for conspiracy to handle stolen goods in relation to 19 vehicles and nine stolen car keys, and for possession of criminal property relating to cash deposits.

His convictions followed a lengthy investigation.

He was arrested by Croydon’s Serious Acquisitive Crime Unit in February, 2015, when five luxury vehicles with false number plates were found in the basement of his home address.

Police say they then found 26 sets of car keys, lists of vehicles and registrations, equipment for accessing onboard computers, programming keys, numerous mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

Police also found 19 stolen cars with an estimated value of £728,000, nine sets of keys which had been stolen from Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Solihull in the West Midlands, and a laptop stolen from a Streatham property.

The investigation later showed Patel had been using the vehicles in an off-the-books vehicle rental business, police said, adding the cars were used in numerous burglaries and car thefts across London between October 2012 and January 2015, and were kept at properties belonging to Patel, his family or their associates.

Patel has been given a 10-year default prison sentence if he does not repay the money owed.