Harrison Walker, 20, George Paton, 21, and Jayden Jones-McGilvray, 21, broke into homes in Kent and East Sussex, robbing nine cars worth £ 68,000 – and posted images of joy on Snapcat
Image: Kent Police / SWNS)
A gang of burglars who traveled to a low-budget holiday camp to rob nine cars worth £ 68,000 have been arrested after police found suspicious Snapchat footage.
The cheeky trio filmed themselves riding during the wave of crime across Kent and East Sussex with the hashtag “working”.
Harrison Walker, 20, George Paton, 21, and Jayden Jones-McGilvray, 21, broke into homes in the Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh areas – stealing car keys, bank cards and nine vehicles.
Social media footage showed Jones-McGilvray, who lives in Richmond, west London, demolishing a busy road on a stolen motorbike and greeting Paton and Walker as they pass him in a van and film him .
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Kent Police / SWNS)
But detectives caught the crooks after discovering a phone with suspicious Snapchat videos of gang members in a car.
Criminals targeted homes at night while their victims were sleeping in September last year, stole cars, exchanged license plates and stored them in nearby homes.
A slew of car owners have woken up to find windows and doors open, their houses strewn with mud and missing vehicles.
The thefts began on September 8 when a Peugeot pickup truck and a BMW were taken after a search of a Folkestone house overnight, with a Mini being broken into a nearby street the same way the following evening.
Two days later, an owner disturbed intruders about five miles from Hythe, before a Daihatsu was stolen after another break-in in Folkestone.
Then, on the night of September 25, a Nissan was taken outside a house in Dymchurch, Kent, and an Audi was stolen from Hythe. Both thefts took place after the owner’s homes were robbed, police said.
A moped was stolen from a house in Camber, East Sussex the following night and a VW and Ford van were stolen from Lydd the following evening.
An investigation led police to room 99 at Pontins Camber Sands Holiday Park where the three thieves were staying.
The Ford van from the latest heist was found in Camber and police discovered CCTV showing three men in the van.
Prosecutor Emma Smith told a court: “During the search of this room, bank cards belonging to a victim were found along with other vehicle keys.
“There was also a Samsung cell phone, which had clearly been used by Mr. Walker. The phone contained Snapchat images and videos.
“There was a short video showing Mr. Paton in a vehicle pointing the camera at Mr. Walker, the caption worked”
Walker was arrested when police attempted to stop a suspiciously driven Skoda in Folkestone in January this year.
The driver backed up an unmarked police car, which had to swerve to avoid it, police said.
Kent Police / SWNS)
The occupants of the Skoda, later found to have been stolen in southwest London, attempted to flee but Walker, who was driving, was caught.
The stolen vehicles worth £ 500 to £ 10,000 were all recovered except for a Peugeot Partner taxi, the owner’s sole means of subsistence.
In Canterbury Crown Court, Walker and Jones-McGilvray were jailed for a total of eight years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burglary and conspiracy to steal.
Judge Catherine Brown told Walker and Jones-McGilvray their victims were inside their homes, and the degree of planning made the thefts worse.
She added, condemning them: “The plot as a whole involved eight houses, a total of nine valuable vehicles were stolen. The offenses took place over a period of just over three weeks.”
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Jones-McGilvray was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison, while Walker, from Wimbledon in south-west London, was jailed for four years and two months.
Walker was also convicted of violating a criminal conduct order, dangerous driving, two less serious driving offenses and two counts of receiving stolen goods.
Paton will be sentenced later this month to account for his new convictions – such as robbery, brawl, theft and two counts of carrying a stabbing weapon.
DC Kirsty Gee, of the Kent Police Chief’s Criminal Squad, said after the hearing: “Officers understand the often long-term impact of burglaries on people’s lives and are determined to fully investigate to translate the accountable to the courts.
“These violators were relentless in the number of homes they targeted and the number of vehicles they stole, each of which would have had an impact on the owners’ daily lives.
“I am glad that this thorough investigation has seen these two men imprisoned and that they will no longer be able to cause problems for the people of East Kent.”