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Prolific car thief jailed for 15 months
A MAN who stole 25 vehicles from six counties around the south has been jailed for 15 months.
Ian Hunter, 59, would take the vehicles from garages or car show rooms, and sell them on to other garages or for scrap at a fraction of the price they were worth.
Lewes Crown Court heard he took a vehicle from the forecourt of the Rex garage at Salisbury Business Park on August 4 after persuading staff to let him have the keys to inspect the vehicle then driving off when they were distracted.
The car was then sold to a woman in the Shaftesbury area who had no idea it had been stolen.
The circumstances were similar to reports police had received of thefts of vehicles from Swindon Trade Centre and a garage in Trowbridge.
PC Mark Welch from Wiltshire Police contacted colleagues in surrounding forces which revealed more incidents and further inquiries uncovered incidents in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and Suffolk.
Hunter, of no fixed abode but originally from Scotland, was arrested on October 2 following an incident in Surrey.
He admitted 25 vehicle thefts, three counts of false representation, driving while disqualified and making off without payment. As well as the prison sentence, he was disqualified from driving for three years.
PC Welch said: “Hunter was a convincing con man and all the garage owners we spoke to during the investigation said that he came across as genuine. “This investigation was a good example of effective cross border working with our surrounding forces to successfully bring a prolific offender to justice.”
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