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Pair stole £18,000 of wheels

Police stock image
Police stock image

Two men have admitted stealing 52 alloy wheels from a car dealership in Tonbridge.

Jay Donnelly, 20, and James Atkins, 19, both from Dagenham, were spotted using power tools to remove the wheels of 13 Mercedes Benz cars park at the site in Vale Road, Tonbridge, in the early hours of April 2 last year.

The cars were so new they had not been registered and were being stored for a local dealership.

They had broken in by cutting through the fence and reversed a stolen Ford Transit van into the site. They were loading the wheels straight into the back when police arrived after being called by an eye witness.

Police chased them, with PC Phillip Comben, of the Tonbridge response team apprehending Donnelly and taking him into custody.

The 13 cars were sitting on their break discs in the yard, with the wheel nuts scattered on the ground. Officers also found tools used for removing wheels in the back of the van.

Officers later found Atkins, with mud on his trainers and trousers, when they stopped a car in the area at 3.50am.

Both Donnelly, of Fambridge Road in Dagenham, and Atkins, from Wood Lane in Dagenham, pleaded guilty to the crime.

DC Mark Ansdell, who led the investigation, said: “These thieves were caught in the act by an astute member of the public and we thank him for his information. The officers who were first on the scene then did a great job in apprehending one of the offenders as they made their escape.

“And the team followed this up by gathering key evidence, tracking down a second offender and ultimately bringing them to justice.”

Donnelly is due to be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday while a date for Atkins’ sentencing has not yet been set.

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