A couple who swiped cars and possessions from families in their own neighbourhood have been nabbed – by a copper from the same area.
Richard Styles and Josie O’Neil from Aldrington Road, Streatham, have been sentenced for a series of offences including burglary, handling stolen goods, aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving.
The group were sentenced to a total of seven years and two months’ imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Monday, 10 February.
The convictions came as a result of a proactive operation called ‘Operation Clombust’ led by the Met’s Specialist Crime team (South).
All pleaded guilty to various offences in January at the same court, they are:
Styles, 43, was sentenced to a total of four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for burglary, theft of a vehicle, three counts of handling stolen goods and two counts of fraud.
O’Neil, 23, was sentenced to a total of 18 months’ imprisonment for six counts of handling stolen goods and two counts of fraud. This sentence was suspended for two years.
Christopher Lewis, 22, of Repton Crescent, in Reading, was also sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment for aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from driving for two years and seven months.
Op Clombust began in December 2019 and is a proactive investigation into residential burglaries and the theft of high value motor vehicles in the Streatham, Tooting and Wimbledon areas.
Cops spotted Styles selling high value electrical goods at a pawn shop in Tooting on December 17 last year. He was also seen to fit two false number plates to two stolen vehicles.
One was stolen in a burglary that morning from an address on Moring Road in Tooting, less than a mile from their homes.
Styles and O’Neil were arrested and property from the burglary in Tooting recovered from their home. This included a saxophone and a Leatherman knife.
Lewis was seen driving the vehicle that was stolen from the burglary on Morning Road. He was pursued and crashed on Durnsford Road, Wimbledon, where he was arrested.
PC David Denton, from South West Basic Command’s Specialist Crime team, said: “I grew up in Tooting as a boy, so it was especially rewarding for me to work in this area of London with my proactive team and catch a group of offenders who were targeting the community here. Sentimental items were stolen from victims whilst they slept in their beds and this all happened in the run up to Christmas.
“This was a successful police operation as most items stolen were returned to the victims. The swift arrest of those involved undoubtedly prevented there being more victims and protected people’s property during the festive period. Some of the sentences imposed reflect the devastating impact that a burglary can have on the families affected by this type of crime.”