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Gang stole £1 million of agricultural equipment across Nottinghamshire

A gang of thieves who stole nearly £1 million worth of plant and agricultural equipment have 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 in the process.

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, as well as 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 then breaking up the stolen items into parts to be sold on, or create a new vehicle with a cloned identity.

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After an initial investigation and a series of warrants by Nottinghamshire Police’s Rushcliffe Operation Reacher Team, a significant number of vehicles and vehicle parts were recovered.

The group were eventually caught out following an extensive joint investigation by Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire detectives, which ran over a number of months in a bid to identify a pattern of offending and track down those responsible.

Detectives were able to link 65 different offences and put them in a position where they were able to carry out a series of synchronised early morning raids on 3 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 from another.

Each of them 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 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 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 Newark, was jailed for three years and four months
  • Ward, 31, of Newark, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison
  • Watson, 36, of 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 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.

“The theft of these types of items can have an absolutely debilitating impact on the local businesses that rely on them and directly affect people’s livelihoods, which is precisely why the police dedicated our efforts into tackling these crimes as we understand how much doing this means to rural communities.

“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.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to our colleagues from Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and partners from across the region, as without our capacity to work between multiple forces, this result would not have been possible.

“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 organised criminals who have plagued our rural communities head-on and brought them to justice. 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.”

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