Car-ringer handed lengthy jail term

A crown court judge has imposed a six-and-a-half-year prison term on a man described by police as the "lynchpin" for the UK's stolen car ringing process.

The Metropolitan Police's Stolen Vehicle Unit handled its highest value case after Richard Shepherd, 43, facilitated the ringing of a total of £38 million worth of stolen vehicles.

London's Southwark Crown Court heard that he was aided by his nephew, Jamie Langdon, 21.

Both men pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and misuse of manufacturers' trademarks and, while Mr Shepherd was jailed, Mr Langdon received 250 hours of community service and a two-year supervision order because he was a juvenile when first employed and the court felt that he was corrupted by his uncle.

Mr Shepherd was licensed by the DVLA to manufacture car number plates from his shop named Image Grafix in Swanley, Kent.

However, jurors heard that under this guise he provided an illegal sideline in the provision of 0 identification components, such as chassis and Vehicle Identification Numbers, for all types of motor vehicles.

Following his arrest, officers found documents which showed he had failed to declare cash income of £385,000 during a five-year period, which equated to the ringing of approximately 1,800 vehicles.

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