Gang who stole £40,000 of cars from Dundee garage sent to jail

Three men who stole seven cars worth almost £40,000 were jailed for a total of more than eight years at Dundee Sheriff Court.

John McGrandle and Stewart Burns were each sentenced to 33 months in jail for breaking into Ancrum Autos and stealing cars.

Damien Forbes was jailed for 36 months for theft of the cars and a further theft by breaking into another commercial property.

A fourth man, Kevin Chaplin, was sentenced to nine months for reset.

Sheriff Alastair Brown told all four: “Your crime records are all deplorable.”

John McGrandle

To Chaplin he added: “It has often been said if there were no resetters there would be no thieves and therefore they should receive the same sentence as for the thefts.”

McGrandle, 25, Burns, who is 33 and Forbes, 31, admitted stealing a BMW, a Mercedes C220, a Nissan Quashqai, a Renault Clio, a black Audi A4, a red Audi A4 and a Suzuki Swift from Ancrum Autos in Charleston Drive on December 12 2016.

Stewart Burns

Thirty-one-year-old Kevin Chaplin, a prisoner at Perth, reset the black Audi A4 on December 12 2016.

McGrandle and Burns, both prisoners at Perth, also admitted breaking into the garage and stealing a quantity of car keys, Burns while on bail, plus two other charges of breaking into Size at High Street, Dundee and stealing a quantity of clothing on December 20 2016 and breaking into C+K Communications, St Mary’s Place, St Andrews, on the same day and stealing a Macbook computer and keyboard, MP4 player, Smartband Fitwatch and headphones, Burns while on bail.

Damien Forbes

Forbes, of Dunholm Road, also admitted that on January 3, while acting with others, he broke into business premises occupied by Moeez Tahir at Strathmartine Road, and stole a quantity of electrical items.

Sheriff Brown told the accused he had applied a discount of a quarter on their sentences on each charge due to their early pleas.

He told them with their records, for a significant break-in at commercial properties, a starting point of two years is appropriate and “maybe even a little light” for the theft of the seven vehicles.

CCTV cameras were found pointing at roof

Fiscal depute Charmaine Gilmartin told the court the Dundee car dealership had been locked at 4.30pm on Sunday December 11, and the keys for the cars were in a safe inside the office.

The owner arrived the following Monday to find the metal shutter at the front of the office had been forced open. The safe that contained the car keys was missing, as were the seven cars.

Mrs Gilmartin added: “The owner found that the alarm wire had been pulled from the box and two CCTV cameras had been moved and were pointing at the roof.”

She added that seven sets of keys, along with the seven keys for the vehicles that had been stolen, were missing and, over the next few days, six of the cars were recovered from various car parks, all undamaged. Twenty car keys were recovered from a nearby park.

She said cell site analysis put the accused’s phones near the location of the offence at the time. The accused were found with the car keys at their home addresses while footprints matching their footwear were found beside abandoned cars. DNA recovered from the vehicles and car keys matched the accused.