Published: 15:00, 28 March 2014
Three men have been jailed for their part in the theft of thousands of pounds worth of vehicles.
One stolen van and trailer contained “all the worldly goods”, worth about £50,000, of Latvian families returning home.
Brothers Henry and Matthew Dunn were each jailed for two-and-a-half years and Aaron Bird for 16 months.
Maidstone Crown Court heard vans, trucks and trailers were stolen in Kent between June 2012 and April last year and driven in convoy to a gipsy camp in Ship Lane, Aveley, South Ockenden, Essex.
Prosecutor Edmund Fowler said the vehicles were picked up by automatic number plate recognition at the Dartford crossing.
A tipper truck valued at £5,000 was stolen from Gorse Hill nursery in Dartford and escorted into Essex by a Mercedes car and Skoda Fabia.
Mr Fowler said Henry Dunn had been stop-checked in the Mercedes a number times and his brother had been stopped in the Skoda.
A Land Rover Defender worth £6,000 was stolen from a veterinary surgery in Meopham. Another Land Rover had a tracking device and was traced to the Essex travellers’ site.
The van and trailer containing the property of about 70 Latvian families was taken from outside an address in Horton Kirby.
A garage was broken into in Hartley and £1,500 worth of power tools were stolen.
“Even if you are not the generals in all this, you are pretty much at the top end of lieutenants.”
Henry Dunn, 32, and Matthew Dunn, 24, both of Caravan Site, South Ash Road, Barnsfield Park, Sevenoaks, and 23-year-old Bird, of no address, admitted theft.
Matthew Dunn also admitted burglary and Henry Dunn two fraud offences by making a false representation to an insurance company.
Mr Fowler said Henry Dunn had 11 convictions for 39 offences.
In September 2008 he was jailed for six years for burgling a Nationwide bank using a JCB, which became stuck, and theft of an ATM containing £26,000 from the Tollgate service station in Gravesend.
He was said to be a family man with young children. His wife is due to give birth again in June.
Matthew Dunn has three children aged one, two and three.
Judge Philip Statman said in the latest offences all three acted as a team in the latest offences and others were probably involved.
They were detected, he said, because of the skills of the police forces involved.
“This was sophisticated criminality,” said the judge. “Even if you are not the generals in all this, you are pretty much at the top end of lieutenants.”
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