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Sunday, 4 October 2015
Thieves sell a Man's Mercedes Bens 'pride and joy' worth £35k for just £50 on Facebook.
Thieves who stole a man’s pride and joy £35,000 Mercedes carsold it on Facebook for just £50.
Hostel mates Andrew Griffiths, 25, and a 17-year-old youth pocketed £25 each from the sale of the 130 miles per hour AMG model and they spent it on drugs and drink.
The owner had left the four-month-old car on his drive in Middlesbrough when the pair went out “grafting”, trying car door handles, in the early hours.
Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told Teesside Crown Court that they did the £50 deal in Acklam with a man who took it to Sunderland to be stripped for parts, reports the Teesside Gazette.
But first the juvenile, who had never driven before, bulleted it at over 100mph around the Middlesbrough Retail Estate.
They were seen on CCTV at 1am on January 26 in Bridgewater Court, Middlesbrough, and Griffiths was trying car door handles.
They returned two hours later at 3.10am, and Griffiths was examining a key as they approached the Mercedes, before it was driven away.
Police arrested them on February 2 at a homeless hostel in central Middlesbrough, and they recovered the car owner’s passport from one of their rooms.
In Griffiths’s room they also found a key to the man’s father’s house. Griffiths said: “I don’t know how to drive, but on my phone are two videos.”
His phone also showed the juvenile, who cannot be named for legal reasons, driving the Mercedes CLA 220 AMG around the retail estate.
Griffiths said in interview that the juvenile found the car door was open. They went back to the hostel and they went on Facebook sending messages trying to find potential buyers.
They offered it to a man in Grove Hill and he accepted. It was parked up in Acklam for someone to collect and they received £50 for the car.
Mr Hadfield added: “Griffiths said that he knew it was taken to Sunderland to be stripped down.
“The youth said that he and Griffiths arranged for a person who he did not know to buy it for £50. He said he did not know the man and he never saw him again.
“He accepted that he left the key on the wheel of the car for the other man to take.
“He said that it took hours to find a buyer, he was talking to hundreds of people. The proceeds were split between them and the passport was stashed.”
They were out again the next night trying car doors in the Roseberry Road area when they were arrested at 4.15am.
Mr Hadfield said that the car’s insurers paid out for the theft.
The owner claimed that the pair must have burgled his house to take the keys and passport, and they were originally charged with burglary.
But they insisted that the car door was open and that the keys and passport were inside. The Crown dropped the burglary charge.
The pair walked free from court on Friday after the Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said that he had to follow sentencing guidelines.
The juvenile had no previous convictions and the judge said that he had to avoid imposing custody if he could.
He said that he sentenced them on the basis that they had not set out to steal high value motor cars but they had got lucky.
The judge said that the Mercedes was no doubt the owner’s “pride and joy”.
Julian Gaskin, defending Griffiths, said that he had spent over three months on a tagged curfew after giving police a detailed account of the theft.
Andrew Turton, defending the juvenile, said that he also intimated an early guilty plea and he could not make something of his life with the help of the Youth Offending Team and the Probation Service.
Griffiths, of Eden Road, Middlesbrough, was given a five-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months with supervision and 100 hours unpaid work, and the juvenile from Coulby Newham was given a 12 months community order with supervision and a four months curfew from 8PM to 6AM after they both pleaded guilty to theft.