Garage owner convicted after supplying false number plates for ‘prolific’ burglary gang

Simon Oakley, who owns Stratton Quick Fit in Long Stratton, is one of four men who went on trial on

Simon Oakley, who owns Stratton Quick Fit in Long Stratton, is one of four men who went on trial on October 16 in connection with the break-ins. Picture: Staff photographer - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk garage owner who supplied false number plates for a 'prolific' regional gang who burgled more than 200 homes has been convicted.

Simon Oakley, 45, who owns Stratton Quickfit in Long Stratton, was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary along with James Pateman, 55, of Wollens Brook, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire and his brother Thomas Pateman, 54, of Fen Road, Chesterton, Cambridgeshire, who were both convicted of handling stolen goods.

All have been warned that they face jail.

The jury at Norwich Crown Court is still considering verdicts for a fourth defendant Ammir Kohanzad, from London, who runs a jewellery store in Hatton Garden and is also charged with handling stolen goods.

The court has heard how the three men were part of criminal enterprise which saw more than £2million worth of property stolen including high-perfomance cars, cash and jewellery between February and December 2017.

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The offences took place over Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and Essex

After the verdicts were returned, Judge Stephen Holt adjourned sentence for the three men granting them bail but warned them that custody was inevitable.

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The jury is due to return on Thursday to carry on with its deliberations.

During the trial William Carter, prosecuting, described how although Oakley was not present at the burglaries he provided assistance with cars by providing false number plates.

The Pateman brothers both deal in precious metals and Mr Carter said: 'They (burglars) need people they can go to with the stolen property, who are prepared to take it off their hands for money.'

When police raided Oakley's home and business on January 9 this year, officers found a stolen Volkswagen Golf, with false number plates and when they checked the printing machine, it was found with a very large number of plates used for vehicles involved in burglaries.

The court heard how the gang would take high-end vehicles from homes, change the number plates, and then use them for other crimes.

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