Four men have been sentenced for their part in a nationwide fraud to steal and sell on industrial batteries – including some which were stolen in Wellingborough and Northampton.
Ryan Brazil, 24, Martin Goodwin, 27, Ronnie Smith, 26, and Carl Brazil, 18, all of Highgrove Lane, Minsterworth, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, 4 June, having pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to fraudulent trading.
Martin Goodwin was sentenced to 16 months in custody.
Ronnie Smith was given a 10-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, plus 200 hours community service.
Ryan Brazil was given a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, plus 200 hours community service.
Carl Brazil was sentenced to a 12-month community order and an 80-hour skills programme requirement.
The court heard the four men had been involved in a wide-ranging fraud, dating between September 2009 and July 2013, to pose as contractors to steal waste industrial batteries.
Once the batteries had been stolen, the four then travelled to a variety of scrap metal dealers to sell on the stolen merchandise – again posing as genuine contractors.
Detective Sergeant Anthony Jones, of British Transport Police’s National Metal Theft Team, said: “The activity of these four came to our attention when they targeted industrial batteries from the rail network.
“Thanks to the work of the specialist metal theft Fusion Unit, an intelligence cell operated by BTP and partners as part of the National Metal Theft Taskforce, we were able to uncover countless other offences committed by the organised group.
“Our investigation revealed the four would operate independently, or in pairs, to travel to various depots across the country.
“Wearing branded outfits and arriving in liveried vehicles, the men posed as genuine contractors and convinced officials at the depots to allow them to take the valuable batteries. No company received money for the batteries which should have been sold to, and collected by, designated waste contractors.
“These batteries were then taken to scrap metal dealers who, acting in good faith, paid money to a group of men they thought were acting on behalf of bona fide contractors.
“In many cases the four also made sure they carried waste consignment notes and waste carrier licenses.
“As a result of the four-year offending spree, the four men defrauded a number of industries and companies of at least £100,000, though the true level of their offending is probably much higher – our investigation revealed the offenders managed to steal hundreds of batteries from a variety of sources including rail equipment, power companies, cars and forklift trucks.”