Leeds gang convicted of ‘taking advantage of people’s misery’

A Leeds-based organized crime group ‘profited from people’s misery’ while running a shop in the city.

A police investigation called Operation Digford, led by officers from Leeds District Intelligence Unit, uncovered three of the shops in Leeds and Dewsbury – where vehicles were being dismantled and parts prepared to be sold. The group worked by stealing keyless vehicles by scanning the signal from the owners’ keys and using an on-board diagnostic tool to start the vehicles.

In an incident in August 2022 on Lime Pit Lane, Wakefield, a man was left with life-changing injuries after confronting Mark Smith, who ran over him. The man became trapped under the front wheel of the van and traveled with it for approximately 800 meters before freeing himself. Wakefield District CID and the District Crime Team were able to link the robbery to a sawmill in Armley, which was already under investigation.

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The gang were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday and Friday last week and Smith, 40, of Tong Way, was jailed for 15 years for robbery and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles. Andrew Oldroyd, 49, of Wood Lane, Rothwell, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for two counts of conspiracy to steal motor vehicles and one count of handling stolen property.

Sam Oliver, 34, of Fifth Avenue in Rothwell, was jailed for six years and three months for two counts of conspiracy to steal motor vehicles. Adrian Stewart, 35, of Meynell Approach, Leeds, was jailed for two years and four months for conspiracy to steal motor vehicles and handling stolen goods, while Jason Tester, 51 aged, of Cottingley Road, Leeds, was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to steal. Motor vehicles.

Peter Hoyle, 38, of Aberford Road, Woodlesford, was jailed for 11 months for conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle, Edgar Uzulins, 34, of Baileys Crescent, Leeds, was jailed for 20 of months with suspension for two years.

One of the shops(Image: West Yorkshire Police)

Julie Hainsworth, 48, of Stratford Avenue, Beeston, was given a nine-month sentence suspended for two years for conspiracy to steal vehicles, and James Hemingway, 50, of Wood Drive, Rothwell, was sentenced to two months in prison for perverting the course of justice.

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