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Teen gang who broke in to homes as people slept then pinched their cars, face justice

PUBLISHED: 16:40 15 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:40 15 June 2017

Thomas Ripley

Thomas Ripley

Archant

Often stealing to order, the gang pinched cars worth a total of £690,000

Kirstie Covele Kirstie Covele

A predominantly teenage gang who broke into homes at night to steal car keys and then drive off in the vehicles have been put behind lock and key after being convicted at Maidstone Crown Court.

Responsible for as many as 33 burglaries in Kent and London between June and August 2016, the criminal group, many of them under 18, would be driven to homes at night commit their crimes.

The vehicles pinched would be sold on with false plates attached, or stripped down for parts.

The value of the stolen vehicles is estimated to exceed £690,000.

Jack Hever Jack Hever

Police even discovered some of the cars were being stolen to order.

As part of their enquiries into the burglaries, officers stopped a blue Fiat Punto last August which was being driven by 19-year-old Shannon Kelynack along Ramsden Road, in Orpington.

Her passengers were Thomas Ripley, Jack Hever, Harry Turner, and a 16-year-old girl. All were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary and subsequently charged.

When officers searched the car they found two Mercedes car keys, as well as items used to carry out burglaries: a screwdriver, ski mask and gloves.

Harry Turner Harry Turner

The two Mercedes had been stolen earlier in the evening from a house in Hartley and were found stored in a garage in Glendower Crescent, Orpington.

Officers uncovered evidence linking the burglaries to the same series, such as CCTV which showed the stolen vehicles being driven in convoy.

Hever was found to have filmed some of the cars being burnt or destroyed.

The group received £1,500 per stolen car and they would share the money out between them.

Freddie Friend Freddie Friend

Ripley had been a main offender, having taken part in 21 burglaries.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Michael Champion said: “Kirstie Covele and Shannon Kelynack - as legal drivers with their own cars - were used to drive the group out to properties, in order for the others to steal and then follow them in convoy.

“The criminal acts carried out by this group were spread over a wide geographical area and despite their young ages, they were committed to organised offending.

“To them it may have seemed an exciting or thrill-seeking way to make money but ultimately we need to remember the victims affected by their actions.

Charlie Parker Charlie Parker

Thomas Ripley, 21, of Star Lane, St Mary Cray was jailed for five years for one count of conspiracy to burgle; Jack Hever, 20, of Priorsford Avenue, Orpington received three years in youth custody for one count of conspiracy to burgle; Kirstie Covele, 19, of Maypole Road, Orpington received two years in youth custody for conspiracy to steal; Shannon Kelynack, 19 of Leesons Hill, Orpington received two years in youth custody for conspiracy to steal; Freddie Friend, 17, of Petersham Drive, St Paul’s Cray was sentenced to a two-year detention and training order for conspiracy to burgle; Harry Turner, 16, of Hamerton Road, Northfleet, was given an 18 month detention and training order for conspiracy to steal; Charlie Parker, 17, of Waltham Close, Orpington was sentenced to a 12-month detention and training order for conspiracy to burgle.

An eighth defendant, a 16-year-old girl from Orpington, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, was sentenced to a two-year rehabilitation order after admitting conspiracy to steal.

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