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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Gang convicted of car theft plot
A dozen men have been convicted of a 4m car theft plot involving more than 200 vehicles being shipped to Africa.

The haul of cars, mainly Mercedes and BMWs, were shipped out of the UK after being stolen in burglaries, robberies, carjackings and thefts.

A two-part trial concluded at Luton Crown Court in the afternoon.

The men from London, Essex, Kent and Bedfordshire were found guilty of conspiracy to handle stolen goods offences.

The investigation involved detectives in Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent.

The investigation has significantly disrupted what is clearly a sophisticated criminal network
Det Ch Insp Jon Chapman

A total of 92 vehicles were discovered by police at Felixstowe Docks in the process of shipment.

The conspiracy ran from May 2005 until April 2006 when some of the gang were caught as they loaded stolen Mercedes cars into a sea container at a yard in the east end of London.

During the trial it was estimated that over the year the gang was responsible for sending more than 200 stolen cars overseas, mostly to Mombasa in Kenya.

Det Ch Insp Jon Chapman of Hertfordshire Police, said: "The investigation has significantly disrupted what is clearly a sophisticated criminal network.

Strip assets

"In addition, under proceeds of crime legislation, the courts will have the powers to strip substantial financial assets acquired through the defendants' criminality."

Abdu Gatsinzi, 37, and Allen Kalisa, 30, both of Brynmaer Road, south west London, were convicted along with Godfrey Esimu, 34, and Patrick Eseru, 42, both of Farleigh Road, Stoke Newington, in north London.

East London men Colin Walter, 23, of Portree Street, Bow; Maqsood Ahmed, 36, Springfield Drive, Ilford; Ton Leo, 35, of Tollgate Road and Shafiq Kamuhanda, 35, of Grantham Road were also convicted.

They will be sentenced along with Martin Clark, 46, of Antlers, Canvey Island, Essex; Raymond Severn, 54, of Bramble Lane, Upminster, Essex; Wycliffe Ssali, 31, of Harrowden Court, Luton; and Gary Lambourne, 25, Creswick Walk, Bromley, Kent; on 14 September at Luton Crown Court.




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