24th May, 2019

Gang sentenced over violent car thefts in Solihull and Birmingham

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Sarah Mason 24th Oct, 2018

A GROUP of car thieves have been jailed following a string of nasty car-jackings plus thefts in which vehicles were towed away using a pick-up truck.

Sarweeth Rehman and Hussun Ashraf − both aged 22 − assaulted motorists with golf clubs, baseball bats or metal bars before driving off in high-end cars.

Their violent robbery spree began on August 24 last year when Rehman threatened a BMW M4 driver for his keys in Shirley’s Baxters Green.

The driver fled, hurling his keys into a garden as he ran, before rage-filled Rehman set about smashing up the M4 and causing damage estimated at £10,000.

Later that day they stole a VW Golf Type R after dragging the woman driver from behind the wheel in Hathaway Road, Shirley, and struck again in September when they robbed a man of his Audi RS6 in Moseley.

Officers tracked the RS6 less than an hour later to Harborne − and during a search of the car found an iPhone dropped by Ashraf.

His Stuarts Road home in Stechford was raided by police and another phone found hidden in a wardrobe was forensically shown to have been used at the scene of three more car-jackings.

It helped detectives link him to a robbery in Bracebridge Close, Balsall Common, when a Mercedes was taken from a woman as she pulled onto her driveway, plus another in Damson Lane, Solihull, when a man handed over keys to his BMW M135 having been approached by two men armed with a knife and golf club.

The third robbery saw a man wearing a balaclava drive off in a woman’s BMW M135 from a pub car park in Sutton Coldfield.

Ashraf and Rehman − who was also arrested on November 9 from his home in Hartopp Road, Alum Rock − had been on bail at the time on suspicion of involvement in a conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.

A separate enquiry run by West Midlands Police’s Force Priorities Team exposed how they used a yellow breakdown recovery truck to tow away seven cars parked in Birmingham streets between May and June 2016.

They stole cars from Hodge Hill, Erdington, Bromford, Nechells and Washwood Heath.

Most were taken in the dead of night with owners waking to find tyre drag marks across the road where their cars had previously been parked.

Ashraf and associate Adal Azam were arrested in 13 June shortly after a BMW 1 Series was stolen from Harborne.

A police patrol car tailed the tow truck into Alum Rock, where Ashraf was detained after a brief foot-chase.

Azam, aged 22 from Watson Road, was arrested from a Vauxhall Corsa being driven in convoy with the truck.

Investigators found a WhatsApp message sent from Ashraf that read “got 2 cars today, M135i and a Corsa…we found them daytime” while Rehman’s phone revealed contact between him and the seller of a yellow LDV breakdown truck.

Ashraf and Rehman went on to admit conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.

They also admitted two counts of assault with intent to rob in relation to two failed car-jackings in February 2017.

And at Birmingham Crown Court Ashraf was jailed for six years four months and Rehman for six years.

Azam and Shoaib Hussain, from Primley Avenue in Bromford, also admitted being part of the tow-truck plot. Azam was imprisoned for three years 10 months, while Hussain was given a 12 month suspended jail sentence.

Detective Constable Chris Elmore, said: “They targeted primarily lone motorists and often female drivers a grotesque level of violence was used and some of the victims suffered nasty injuries after being attacked with weapons.

“I’m pleased the court has recognised the extent and severity of their offending and handed down lengthy prison sentences. They have pleaded to their roles in certain offences but we suspect they may have been linked to considerably more.”

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