Published: 15:42, 28 June 2019
| Updated: 16:53, 28 June 2019
A pair of prolific thieves who used stolen cars to carry out a string of burglaries as part of a "serious organised crime" operation have been jailed.
Jamie Porter, 32, and Shane Cosier, 34, both from Canterbury, stole 15 cars and more than 16 number plates.
Some of the cars were then set alight and left to burn following the incidents.
The items stolen include cash, jewellery, power tools and bank cards - which were then used on a spending spree in shops.
Canterbury Crown Court heard todayhow the thefts had a devastating impact on the victims.
One four-year-old girl who found her mother's car window broken by the thieves asked if she would be harmed next, after a break-in overnight on November 21 and 22.
The mother and child had returned to the car in Petham to find a window in the family car broken and a a handbag and purse stolen.
Claire Walden said in an impact statement to the court that her daughter asked: "Is someone going to come and smash me?"
Another burglary took place at a family home in Stoneleigh, Sandwich, on November 9.
Victim Alastair Boniface's impact statement said: "We've upgraded security in order to deter further issues, including a burglar alarm. It has cost £5,000 to £6,000 to feel safe again."
Other cases included an attempted burglary at a home in Northcote Road, Deal, involving two men wearing balaclavas, and a burglary at Cromwell Road, Canterbury.
On Wednesday, December 5, a stolen car was identified by police being driven along Littlebourne Road in Canterbury.
Officers found Porter sitting behind the wheel. He was arrested and following a search of his property a few suspected stolen items were also recovered.
Detectives reviewed Porter’s phone data, which showed he had regular contact with Cosier - and they were both put at the scene of the burglaries that officers had so far linked.
On Thursday, January 17, searches were carried out at two houses in Dorman Avenue and another in Milner Crescent where officers discovered another stolen item and Cosier, of Well Lane, was arrested.
The pair were charged and remanded in custody in March and admitted to their crimes.
The men's defence counsel said the crimes had been committed to pay off drug debts and were part of a larger crime organisation
Chris Wray, for Porter, said that his client's three-year relationship has ended because of this case.
"Thankfully their crime spree has come to an end where they will now spend considerable time in prison" - Investigating officer DC Andrew Palmer
Mr Wray said: "There must have been some sort of hierarchy and he was at the bottom."
Phil Rowley, for Cosier, said of his client: "If this conspiracy is a pyramid he's at the bottom, the least well rewarded.
"He's at the bottom of the food chain and he exposed himself to the greatest risk."
Judge Catherine Brown sentenced Porter to six years in prison at Canterbury Crown Court today. Cosier was sentenced to five years and three months for his part in the criminal operation.
The judge told Cosier and Porter that they had made their victims unsafe in their own homes.
She told the men: "This was serious organised crime.
"There was a significant degree of planning and organisation, those involved went equipped for burglary and these were offences carried out by a group."
She added: "I accept that these were thefts to order, directed by others who are not before the court.
"You, along with others, where those who carried out the directions of others but you were active participants in the conspiracy for financial gain."
Investigating officer DC Andrew Palmer said: "This was a very long and complex investigation and the criminal acts carried out by Cosier and Porter spread over a wide area.
"The pair were clearly committed to organised offending after they planned and carried out these thefts and burglaries forgetting the impact their greed would have on the victims.
"Being a victim of burglary is upsetting and some items, like sentimental jewellery, are simply irreplaceable.
"Thankfully their crime spree has come to an end where they will now spend considerable time in prison.
"I hope their conviction acts as a deterrent to anyone considering committing similar offences. It won’t be tolerated at Kent Police and our officers will work to ensure criminals are put before the courts."