VIDEO: Black Country organised crime gang jailed
28 September 2012
>>> Scroll down for video of the men being caught <<<
A GANG of organised metal thieves who are thought to have stolen more than £31,000 worth of property from businesses across Wolverhampton and Dudley have been jailed.
They were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today (28 September) to a total of five years and four months in prison following a covert investigation by West Midlands Police.
The six men, led by 33-year-old Craig Everitt of Daley Road in Wolverhampton, systematically committed their crimes overnight or at weekends when no one was at the premises.
They would break into buildings and steal anything of worth including metal, diesel and other property, often causing thousands of pounds worth of damage along the way.
Eight separate incidents were included in the conspiracy charges but the men only pleaded guilty on the basis that they would admit just some of the crimes.
Ringleader Everitt was caught on the evening of Monday 25 July last year after he smashed his was into Evans and Reid Alloys Ltd on Anchor Road in Bilston.
Using a dinghy on the canal adjacent to the building, he smashed a 3ft x 3ft hole in the exterior wall along with his accomplice 32-year-old Michael Scanlon, of Hinchcliffe Avenue, Coseley.
They tried to load aluminium ingots onto the dinghy but, when they heard the police helicopter overhead, both men fled the scene. Scanlon was arrested a short distance away, while Everitt was arrested later after his DNA was found in the dinghy.
Two tons of ingots had been taken from Evans and Reid – worth around £4,000 – and £500 worth of damage was caused to the building. Half of the ingots were recovered nearby.
The court heard how this was just one of a number of raids carried out by Everitt and his ‘team’.
In January he raided Top Mix on Spring Road in Ettingshall along with his brother 30-year-old Steven Everitt, of Mount Road, Wolverhampton, Michael Scanlon and 19-year-old Paul Greensill, of Wallace Road, Bradley.
The four men siphoned diesel from five trucks, all belonging to different victims, and loaded it onto a Volvo estate which they used to get away. They were caught driving away dangerously – jumping red lights and going the wrong way around traffic islands.
In total they stole £820 worth of diesel and caused more than £355 worth of damage.
The diesel was found when police executed a warrant at the home of 26-year-old Peter Williams in Ashfield Road, Bilston. He initially said he had bought it legitimately but later admitted handling stolen goods and was fined £700 today.
The gang also struck in Brierley Hill when, on 16 February, the Everitt brothers, Scanlon, Greensill and 32-year-old Kirk Garner, of Causeway Green Road, Oldbury, broke into Camis Group on Station Drive.
They were tracked by the police helicopter as they fled the scene after activating a burglar alarm.
Scanlon was arrested nearby while the other four men scrambled up railway embankments in a bid to evade capture – all were arrested after officers in the helicopter directed police on the ground to where the men were hiding.
Detective Inspector Darren Crutchley, who led the investigation, said “This was a group of organised career criminals, led by Craig Everitt, who would take them all out on a daily basis to commit crime.
“The men would steal anything of worth, with complete disregard for the damage they caused in the process.
“Through their network of underworld associates, the gang would make cash from their loot, while their victims were left to pick up the pieces.
“The thefts and the damage they caused had a massively disruptive impact on small businesses and the local community.
“A large police operation was put in place following the spate of thefts, with significant resources ploughed into tracking down the offenders.
“I’m pleased with the sentences handed down today and that the many victims have now got the justice they deserve.
Stephen Price, from Evans & Reid Alloys Ltd, said today: “The day after the burglary was absolutely chaotic – we lost a lot of production that day.
“It wasn’t just the cost of what they stole that affected the company; it was the impact in terms of lost time and the large increase in the amount of money we have had to spend on security since the crime.
“I’m glad they were caught and very glad indeed that they have been jailed for what they did.”
Today’s sentencing comes as the new Midlands region metal theft taskforce steps up its work to tackle organised criminals stealing large-scale or high-value metals.
The team, which sits within West Midlands Police’s Force CID, works in partnership with lead officers from West Mercia, Staffordshire and Warwickshire areas to further reduce this type of crime.
Since the start of 2012, metal theft offences have been slashed by half across the West Midlands.
Operation Steel has been running throughout the region for more than two years, with dedicated officers working tirelessly to buck the national trend of spiralling numbers of metal thefts.
Full list of offenders:
Admitted conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal:
Craig EVERITT, 33, of Daley Road, Bradley, Bilston - 21 months imprisonment
Michael SCANLON, 32, of Hinchcliffe Avenue, Bilston 21 months imprisonment
Steven EVERITT, 30, of Mount Road, Portobello, Bilston – 14 months imprisonment
Kirk GARNER, 32, of Causeway Green Road, Oldbury – eight months imprisonment
Paul GREENSILL, 19, of Mervyn Road, Bradley, Bilston – 12 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 12 month supervision order and 100 hours unpaid work
Admitted handling stolen goods:
Peter WILLIAMS, 26, of Ashfield Road, Bradley, Bilston – fined £700
Photographs show the two main offenders – Craig Everitt and Michael Scanlon
Watch how the men were caught by the West Midlands Police helicopter: