A gang of thieves who stole nearly £1 million worth of plant and agricultural equipment has been jailed.
Colin Warriner, Dominic Alderton, Aaron Booth, Gary Self, Stefan Ward and John Watson were the men behind a large-scale rural theft and burglary conspiracy that lasted for more than two years.
The organised crime group repeatedly targeted different rural communities across the East Midlands between April 2020 and June 2022 – causing their victims to lose more than £910,000 worth of equipment.
Plant and agricultural machinery, pick-up trucks, Land Rovers, vans, and power tools were all taken by the gang during a series of large-scale thefts and commercial burglaries from properties in the Rushcliffe and Gedling areas of Nottinghamshire.
The gang also struck across Lincolnshire and the surrounding East Midlands region.
Led by Warriner, the group specifically targeted rural communities by stealing motor vehicles and other items of plant, with the intention of breaking them up to be sold on, or create a new vehicle with a cloned identity.
Nottinghamshire Police’s Rushcliffe Operation Reacher Team, recovered a significant number of vehicles and vehicle parts.
The group was eventually caught following an extensive joint investigation by Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire detectives.
Over many months officers identified a pattern of offending and track down those responsible.
Detectives were able to link 65 different offences before carrying out a series of synchronised early morning raids in May, 2023.
Officers from Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire worked together to execute six warrants at the same time at different addresses in Newark, Screveton and East Bridgford, in Nottinghamshire, and in Dunham-on-Trent, in Lincolnshire.
Police managed to retrieve a phone a suspect had tried to flush down the toilet at one of the addresses, while two knuckledusters, large quantities of cash and several other phones were also seized during the raids.
Warriner, Alderton, Booth, Self, Ward and Watson were all detained as part of the police sting and later pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to steal.
Each appeared for sentencing at Lincoln Crown Court on 15 December, where they were jailed for a combined 12 years and four months.
- Warriner, 36, of Dunham Road, Newton on Trent, Lincoln, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison
- Alderton, 36, of no fixed address, was jailed for one years and six months
- Booth, 25, of Occupation Lane, East Bridgford, received a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, while he was also handed a community order and made to complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days
- Self, 58, of Coneygrey Spinney, Newark, was jailed for three years and four months
- Ward, 31, of Vessey Close, Newark, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison
- Watson, 36, of Flintham Lane, Screveton, received a sentence of two years and three months
Detective Sergeant Richard Kinsey, of Nottinghamshire Police, said:
“These six men were involved in a conspiracy of 65 separate thefts between them over the space of two years.
“Each of those thefts will have been felt keenly by their victims, who were all members of the rural community.
“All told, this rural theft conspiracy resulted in nearly a million pounds worth of vehicles, plant and agricultural equipment being stolen, which will have had a devastating impact on these businesses and families.
“This was an extensive investigation that ran over a period of time and involved close collaboration between Nottinghamshire Police and Lincolnshire Police, with this culminating in a series of simultaneous warrants.
“This operation was ultimately successful, and we are delighted to have now seen six participants of this organised crime group sentenced for their crimes.”
Detective Inspector Dave Harrop, of Lincolnshire Police, added:
“The investigation represented a considerable investment of resources by both Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Police at a time of significant competing demands.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support.
“This was a tenacious investigation, and its success was driven by a small but dedicated team of detectives who tackled head-on organised criminals who have plagued our rural communities.
“There has been a noticeable reduction in these crimes across the region since these men were remanded.
“This type of crime has a major impact on our rural communities, and this will not be tolerated.
“Rural crime is one of our top policing priorities and we continue to investigate all reports to ensure justice is served.”