TWO BIRMINGHAM brothers have been convicted of running a stolen car ‘chop shop’ from a lock-up in Sparkbrook after West Midlands Police linked them to a series of thefts.
Usman and Mahmood Khalid used the unit in Walford Road to strip down cars stolen from outside homes in Birmingham, Tamworth and Northampton.
Police uncovered an array of parts linked to seven different vehicles – with a combined value of almost £200,000 – when a tracker device fitted in a Range Rover taken from Old Warwick Road, Solihull, led officers to the garage in the early hours of June 26 2014.
Officers found 37-year-old Mahmood inside breaking-up the Range Rover – just 30 minutes after it was reported stolen – surrounded by a mass of engines, gearboxes, body panels and seats.
A specialist auto crime examiner assessed the parts and was able to link them to a series of car thefts between April and June 2014.
Some of the cars were stolen after keys were taken during house burglaries but others by tapping into security details from on-board computers and programming blank keys.
Unit owner Usman Khalid, from Gladstone Road in Sparkbrook, was arrested on July 18 but claimed he sub-let the premises to another man and had not visited for several months.
However, officers found opened letters in the garage addressed to the 33-year-old – some dated just days before the police raid – while his mobile phone contained images of stolen car parts.
Mahmood, from Cherrywood Road in Bordesley Green, and Usman Khalid both denied conspiracy to steal motor vehicles but were found guilty.
Usman was jailed for three years at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday (March 17).
The court heard how Usman was the sole carer of four children and the judge considered their human rights in the length of sentence that was handed down.
Mahmood was given a 12 month prison term, suspended for two years, and placed on a six-month mental health referral order and six-month supervision order.
West Midlands Police investigating officer, detective constable Jon Nott, said: “It was clear the unit was being used to handle stolen cars and strip them down before the parts were sold on.
“Mahmood suggested he was repairing lights in the unit when our officers found him.
“But it was 1am – a strange time to be fixing lighting – plus seats and other internal parts of the Range Rover had already been removed.
“We also found a works glove inside the car that, when examined, showed it contained Mahmood’s DNA.
“There were a total of 18 phone calls between the pair in the two hours leading up to the Range Rover being stolen – calls which stopped at around the time it was being driven off – which again suggested they were behind the theft.”