Garage owner who supplied false number plates to criminal gang has hearing adjourned due to covid

PUBLISHED: 13:44 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:00 05 October 2020

Simon Oakley court case.
Picture: Staff photographer

Simon Oakley court case. Picture: Staff photographer

Archant Norfolk 2018

A Norfolk garage owner who supplied false number plates for a prolific gang who burgled more than 200 homes, had his hearing to claw back cash adjourned because of problems caused by Covid-19.

Simon Oakley, 45, formerly of Hempnall, was jailed for nine years in December 2018 for his part in the gang, which saw more than £2m worth of property stolen between February and December 2017, including high performance cars, cash and jewellery.

Oakley was convicted of conspiracy to burgle, possession of a firearm without a certificate and handling stolen goods.

During the trial at Norwich Crown Court, the jury heard how Oakley, who at the time owned Stratton Quick Fit, a garage and workshop in Long Stratton, helped to hide stolen vehicles and pass them off as legitimate for the gang.

Oakley also provided false registration plates for stolen vehicles used by the gang.

The case was back at the crown court on Monday for a confiscation hearing, which is hoping to claw back thousands of pounds from the member of the crime gang.

However William Carter, prosecuting, said that there needed to be more time before the hearing can go ahead because of delays caused by Covid-19.

He said there had been exceptional circumstances caused by Covid: “No body when this matter was set down would have anticipated that we would be in the throes of a pandemic.”

He said that this had hampered the progression of the case.

Tim Ashmole appeared for Oakley at the hearing.

The case was adjourned for a three day hearing on April 13, next year.

There will also be a further hearing in January to make sure matters are all going as planned.

Judge Andrew Shaw said that the case would need to heard by Judge Stephen Holt, who had dealt with the trial.

Oakley did not attend the hearing.

During the trial of the gang, the court heard how they would steal specific items such as high-powered BMW’s and Audis, firearms, cash and jewellery and dispose of items through contacts.

They carried out most of their crimes in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire but also spread in Suffolk and Essex.

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