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Six brothers sentenced for catalytic converter thefts across London

November 7, 2014, 6:54 pm

Six members of the same family who pleaded guilty to over 150 offences of catalytic converters thefts across London have been sentenced today (Friday, 7 November) at Harrow Crown Court to over 13 years’ imprisonment.

Gerard McDonagh, 31 (21.05.83) of Sheldon Road, London N18 was sentenced to three years imprisonment for conspiring to steal catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

Martin McDonagh, 37 (30.09.77) of Monmouth Road, London N9 was sentenced to three years imprisonment for conspiring to steal catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

Michael McDonagh, 31 (07.02.83) of Saxon Road, London N22 was sentenced to three years imprisonment for conspiring to steal catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

Kevin McDonagh, 19 (31.05.95) of Hoe Lane EN1 was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for conspiring to steal catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

Joseph McDonagh, 31 (09.05.83) of South Road, London N9 was sentenced to two years imprisonment for conspiring to steal catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

John McDonagh, 32 (15.12.81) of South Eastern Avenue, London N9 was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for four counts of theft of catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

The brothers previously pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court on 5 August

They have also all been issued with a five year post conviction anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) preventing them from touching an unattended motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and not to own, possess, use or control cutting equipment capable of cutting metal of a thickness greater than two millimetres.

This case relates to an organised and sophisticated crime syndicate who were involved in complex theft of catalytic converters from motor vehicles London wide for over a year. The McDonagh family from north London were responsible for over 150 thefts of catalytic converters from motor vehicles London wide since July 2013.

Officers from Brent borough carried out an investigation after a number of catalytic converters had been stolen from vehicles in the area. Officers were able to identify the McDonagh family through surveillance work, forensic evidence and CCTV. Other evidence showed that they were placed in vicinity at the time of the thefts.

Since the arrest and charge of these men in April and May and due to them being remanded in custody, there was a 50 per cent reduction in the number of catalytic converters thefts which can solely be credited to the arrest and prosecution of the McDonagh family. The monthly reduction from the most serious month was 320 catalytic converters thefts in April down to 96 in June.

Officers from Brent Police led by Detective Sergeant Mick Walker, supported by colleagues from across London worked on this case tirelessly with resolve and determination in identifying offences, gathering evidence, reopening a large number of closed investigations across London to bring to justice and dismantle this organised criminal network for victims all across London.

Brent Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher said; “This is a fantastic result for the victims of these crimes. These convictions represent the MPS’s determination to pursue and dismantle criminal networks and bring them to justice. These convictions should serve as a warning to those engaged in criminal activity that we won’t stop until they are convicted.”

Inspector Paul Sanders from Bexley Borough, where some of the theft took place said; “I’m delighted that this gang who have been stealing catalytic converters and causing misery across that capital have been brought to justice.

“After the theft of a catalytic converter in Bexley we were able to work with colleagues at Brent to establish that there was an organised criminal network involved and that the level of offending was vast, affecting many London boroughs. Their actions caused not only a great deal of inconvenience, but the financial implications were very distressing for the victims too.

“The investigation used old fashion policing tactics, combined with modern day policing methods, which should send out a clear message to people who engage in this type of criminal activity – you will be pursued and put before the courts.

“I would like to thank all of the policing teams who were involved in this case, it was a complete team effort by all of the officers, and had it not been for their tenacity then the gang may never have been identified.”

The boroughs that were affected by the thefts were Barnet, Brent, Bexley, Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlet and Waltham Forest.

We urge vehicle owners to be vigilant and consider adopting some or all of the measures shown below to help protect their vehicle against this type of theft.

Property marking
Etching a catalytic converters with a serial number will help police track a stolen converter to a specific injured party and overtly advertising that a vehicle is protected by property marking may also deter offenders as it will potentially reduce the opportunities for selling on the converters at reputable scrap metal dealers.

Welded Bolts
If a catalytic converter is a “bolt on” it is possible to have the bolts welded shut. This is only a deterrent to the lowest grade of catalytic converter thief working with a spanner but may still be enough of a deterrent to help prevent a theft.

Catalytic Converter Protective Sleeves
Protective coverings are quite expensive but make it much more difficult for the saw wielding thief to steal catalytic converters.

Defensive Parking
If it is possible to block the high-clearance vehicles by utilising natural structures such as walls etc and low clearance vehicles to help prevent access underneath, this will help prevent access to the vulnerable area of the vehicle and at the very least slow the thieves down making the target less attractive.

Effective Security Lighting
Good security lighting can make vehicles more visible and improve natural surveillance. External dusk to dawn lighting which automatically stays on during the hours of darkness and goes off as it starts to get light in areas where there is good surveillance from other people, makes the target less attractive.

CCTV / Alarms
The installation of CCTV to cover parking areas can help reduce theft. Remote monitored CCTV could even stop catalytic converter theft before it happens if the monitoring centre can notify the police in real time as an offence takes place. The use of driveway alarms can help alert you to anyone trespassing on your property.

Perimeter Security
Fencing is the first line of defence for most business parking areas and regular checks of fences for damage, ensuring any holes etc are quickly and properly repaired will help deter the opportunistic catalytic thief. There are many types of security fencing and increasing the protection afforded by this feature will help prevent or at least slow down the more organised thief.

Anyone with any information regarding catalytic converters thefts is asked to contact police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

101 – The police non-emergency number

101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
Find out more information about 101 by following this link.

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