Several men have been sentenced for stealing high performance BMW cars.
Kasim Ali Ahmed (29), of Haslingden Old Road, Blackburn, Haroon Qamar (27), of The Pastures, Blackburn, Michael Dicks (24), of Brattice Drive, Swinton, Manchester, and Mohammed Irfan Mazhar (24), of Colenso Road, Blackburn, were sentenced following two hearings at Preston Crown Court this month.
The quartet were arrested in March 2016 following a phone call to police about a number of men seen acting suspiciously in the Metcalf Close area of Blackburn. Officers attended and found damage to the window and inside of a BMW car.
Ahmed, Qamar and Dicks made off from the scene in a Seat Leon which was stopped just off the M61 by police. A number of electronic devices, used specifically to steal BMWs, were found on board.
The trio were arrested and bailed, with officers conducting a major investigation into the group’s mobile phone use. Further inquiries into CCTV were carried out, with officers identifying 12 BMW cars the group had stolen or attempted to steal in the Blackburn area. Vehicles had also been targeted in Preston and the Ribble Valley.
During the investigation officers established Mazhar was working with the gang and he was later arrested.
All four were charged with conspiring to steal motor vehicles.
Ahmed, Qamar and Mazhar pleaded not guilty to the offence and the case went to trial in December. After three days of hearings Ahmed and Qamar changed their pleas to guilty, with Mazhar pleading guilty to participating in activities of an organised crime group. Dicks had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing last year to conspiracy to steal.
Ahmed was jailed for four years and two months, Qamar sentenced to two years and four months, Mazhar handed a 20 month sentence suspended for two years and Dicks imprisoned for one year and five months. A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing will now take place against the men.
PC Rick Hek, of Lancashire Police, said: “This gang was particularly ruthless in its activities, targeting BMW cars across the Lancashire area.
“Ahmed, Qamar, Mazhar and Dicks showed a blatant disregard for their victims, carrying out a number of vehicle thefts before a tip-off to police from a member of the public led to their arrests.
“We welcome the sentences handed down from court and hope it deters others who attempt to carry out such criminal activities.”