Thieves who stole cars across the county - including Harborough - and filmed themselves driving the stolen vehicles have been jailed
They were caught after Harborough police teamed up with two other force areas to launch a highly co-ordinated operation
Two serial offenders who stole a string of cars across Leicestershire – including in Market Harborough – have been jailed.
Jake Ward, 18, and Ricky Cox, 23, were locked up after they filmed themselves speeding in motors they had stolen.
The pair have been put behind bars for over nine years between them.
They were jailed after Harborough police teamed up with two other force areas to launch a highly co-ordinated operation.
Some 28 burglaries were reported to police between March and April this year after car keys were stolen from inside the home before the owners’ cars were stolen.
The crime spree sparked a powerful cross-force response by Harborough and Wigston, South Leicester and Hinckley and Blaby Neighbourhood Policing Areas.
Detectives hunting the criminals were quickly able to link the catalogue of crimes and identify potential suspects.
Backed up by the police helicopter and dog units, officers arrested two 16-year-old boys red-handed on May 4 as a burglary was carried out in Davenport Avenue, Oadby.
Later that day Ward and a 17-year-old boy were also detained after warrants were executed at their homes.
A mobile telephone belonging to Ward, formerly of Babington Row, Leicester, was seized.
Police found videos and images on the phone which identified cars that had been stolen.
The following day Cox was arrested after a warrant was executed at his home in Pochins Bridge Road, Wigston.
Cox, Ward and two boys, aged 16 and 17, who can’t be named for legal reasons, were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.
The fifth teenager, aged 16, was charged with burglary.
All the charges relate to incidents in Market Harborough, Oadby, Wigston, Birstall, Knighton, Braunstone Town, Eyres Monsell, Saffron Ward, Leicester Forest East and Stoneygate.
Cox, Ward, the 16-year-old and 17-year-old appeared at Leicester Crown Court at an earlier hearing and admitted carrying out the offences.
On Friday August 14 Cox was jailed for four years for conspiracy to commit burglary.
Ward was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit burglary and a further 18 months behind bars for an unrelated burglary.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Two juveniles, both now aged 17, are due to be sentenced at a later date.
The fifth person, a 16-year-old, who was charged with burglary, was sentenced after pleading guilty at Youth Court in June.
He was given a referral order and ordered to pay compensation and costs to the victim.
Det Con Nicola Holyoake, the investigating officer, said: “This investigation brought together many functions within the force to reach a successful conclusion.
“The defendants showed no remorse for their actions and the impact their crimes have on the victims.”
Det Insp Henry Henderson, who led the investigation, said: “This is a great result and a testament to the hard work that has gone into securing these convictions.
“The three Neighbourhood Policing Areas affected by this series of offences merged their resources together and identified links between each incident.”
He added: “The burglary in progress on 4 May resulted in officers from across the force being deployed, including the traffic unit, dog unit and the National Air Support (NPAS) unit and led to the two 16-year-old boys being arrested.
“These types of offences have a massive impact on our local communities.
“We would like to reassure people that we do take vehicle crime extremely seriously and will prosecute those involved.
“This was a complex investigation and due to the investigating officers’ diligence and attention to detail in securing the evidence the defendants had no choice but to plead guilty.”