Habitual car thief jailed for six months after stealing 11 vehicles

Car thief David Berry

Car thief David Berry - Credit: Met Police

A prolific car thief from Harlesden who went on an eight-month offending spree has been jailed.

David Berry, 39, of Ashdon Road, stole 11 cars parked on streets across Brent and Harrow between April and November last year.

He used his recovery vehicle to steal the cars then took them to a scrapyard in Buckinghamshire, and sold them using a scrap metal licence, Scotland Yard said.

He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at Wood Green Crown Court on April 20.

Police Serg Rob Clarke, from Wembley Emergency Response Team D, said: “The impact of Berry’s offending should not be understated. Many of the vehicles he stole and sold for scrap were of sentimental value to their owners.

“Local officers are committed to preventing and detecting crime that affects the community and this sentencing sends out the right message to would-be offenders that they will be caught and convicted.”

Berry targeted cars that had been parked for a while and in some cases they were reported as SORN (statutory off road notification) to the DVLA, police added.

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By the time the victims realised their car had been stolen and contacted the police, the vehicles had already been destroyed.

The scrapyard accepted the vehicles as they had not been reported stolen and they paid Berry via bank transfer, complying with the regulations of the scrap metal trade.

However, the scrapyard did make a note of Berry’s vehicle registration each time he attended.

A joint investigation was launched by two Wembley Emergency Response Teams.

Berry was identified as a suspect after officers realised that the circumstances and the areas for the offences were extremely similar.

The habitual car thief was arrested on March 8.

He spoke only to confirm that a CCTV still image of a van was his and also answered when he was shown an image of a driving licence provided by the scrapyard replying "yeah, it looks like it", police said.

Berry was charged the following day and was remanded in custody to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on the same day where he pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft of a motor vehicle.