A MAN has been ordered to pay more than £1million after police found nine sets of keys taken from Jaguar Land Rover’s giant Solihull plant in a London raid.
They were among 19 vehicles worth more than £700,000 found by officers after Chirag Patel was arrested and jailed in connection with a number of car thefts and burglaries between October 2012 and January 2015.
The 40-year-old of Frith Road in Croydon is serving an eight-year jail sentence for conspiracy to handle stolen goods and possession of criminal property.
He has also been ordered to pay back more than £1.3miliion under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Croydon Crown Court.
The Metropolitain police said Patel was arrested in February 2015 after discovering five high-value vehicles in the basement car park at his home address.
Further inquiries established the five vehicles had false number plates and all were later confirmed to have been stolen.
During a search of Patel’s property, officers recovered 26 sets of car keys, as well as lists of vehicles and registrations, machines for accessing on-board computers in vehicles and programming keys and a number of mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Following a detailed investigation a total of 19 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of £728,000 were linked to Patel, as well as nine sets of keys which had been stolen from the Solihull JLR plant, and a laptop stolen during a burglary in the Streatham area.
It was later discovered that Patel had been using the vehicles in the running of an ‘off-the-books’ vehicle rental business where vehicles were rented out to his associates and contacts.
The vehicles had been stolen by unknown individuals during burglaries and keyless car thefts across London between October 2012 and January 2015 and were stored at or near addresses owned by Patel and his family, or with associates who looked after the vehicles for him or rented them from him.
The identities of the cars were concealed using legitimate insurance details of vehicles which had been written off.
Patel also received a 10 year prison sentence which will be imposed if he fails to pay back the money.
Acting Detective Sergeant Billy Clough, who led the investigation, said: “The Met is committed to ensuring that individuals commit criminality are identified, prosecuted and their criminal assets are seized.
“The significant financial investigation undertaken by Detective Constable Nick Portman should also be recognised, without which substantial criminal assets would not have been recovered.”