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Gang mastermind jailed for theft

PUBLISHED: 17:43 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:30 12 August 2010

THE mastermind behind a gang running half-a-million pounds worth of stolen heavy machinery to Northern Cyprus have been jailed. William Carter, 53, of Hawes Lane, East Wickham, stashed lorries and plant equipment worth £553,000 in building sites and depo

THE mastermind behind a gang running half-a-million pounds worth of stolen heavy machinery to Northern Cyprus have been jailed.

William Carter, 53, of Hawes Lane, East Wickham, stashed lorries and plant equipment worth £553,000 in building sites and depots in Slade Green, Lower Sydenham and Beckenham.

Described by police as a 'major player' in the gang, Carter was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Woolwich Crown Court on March 13 after pleading guilty to money laundering charges.

Sentencing Carter, Judge Carroll said: "You set out to financially benefit quite considerably from this enterprise.

"When you were arrested you carried on and committed offences again and again. You made a conscious choice to do so."

Bexley Police were first led to the gang in May 2007 when officers recovered £250,000 worth of lorries and plant equipment stolen from an Erith building site.

Carter was arrested at the site when police realised an organised crime network was operating from it under the oblivious owner's nose.

A second man was arrested trying to flee in a stolen JCB digger worth £80,000.

Michael Turner, 51, of Cotmandene Cresceent, Orpington, was also arrested and was sentenced alongside Carter to 250 hours community work, having admitted stealing a digger.

Detective Inspector Stephen Underwood said: "A further investigation to recover the proceeds of these offences should send a message that police will seek to detect and disrupt organised crime wherever possible.

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