Members of an international gang that made £4.5 million from turning stolen Porsches and Ferraris into "clean" models have been jailed.

Some of the vehicles, which also included top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMWs, were high-jacked at knife- or gunpoint.

The network stole at least 190 cars across south London, re-registering them with details from smashed Belgium and American wrecks.

They were then sold on as "imports" to unsuspecting buyers via trade publications and websites like eBay.

The investigation to bust 10 London criminals and seven accomplices in Belgium was the biggest Scotland Yard's stolen vehicle unit had undertaken in a decade.

The gang included a DVLA official, a Metropolitan Police trainee and a Tube train driver.

In a tiny garage under railway arches in New Cross, south-east London, mechanic Omar Abbas, 36, expertly fitted new computer chips and identification plates.

His work even fooled inspectors from motoring organisations.

The forged paperwork was mainly handled by Tube driver Anthony Holt, 41. Hand writing analysis tied him to 136 false applications to the DVLA.

His girlfriend, police trainee Emma Rayfield, 32, helped with some of the fake documents and sold one stolen car.

At the time of her arrest she was studying at the Metropolitan Police College in Hendon. She resigned from the force immediately.

David Adams, based at the DVLA's offices in Sidcup, Kent, was paid £500 per car to ensure the false applications would not attract a second glance.

The gang obtained the replacement parts from their associates in Belgium, who dealt in scrap vehicles.

One of their victims was jewellery designer Michael Waterman, 40, who has never owned another vehicle since his Porsche Boxter was stolen at gunpoint.

Two men approached him where he was making a phone call in his car outside his home in Dulwich, south-east London.

"I had a feeling of dread, I knew something was going to happen.

"Then I saw the guy on the right had a gun in his hand. He fired it into the ground, there was a blue flash and then they were telling me to get out of the car which I did.

"They seemed really nervous, they had already fired the gun once and at that point I had no quibbles about them taking the car. I just wanted to play it very carefully.

"It was a very nice car, silver-grey with red seats but, just at that moment, it didn't seem to be that important."

But he got off lightly and the insurance paid out, Mr Waterman added.

"Some poor bugger bought my car, paid £32,000 for it and then was told it didn't belong to them. That person lost the lot and had no comeback whatsoever."

Yesterday at Southwark Crown Court the ten London conspirators were sentenced to a total of 17 years.

But the "controlling forces" may have got away, said Judge John Price. : "It was a very substantial conspiracy, not all of the conspirators are in the dock."

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Dark, head of the Met's stolen vehicle unit, said: "This was a particularly ruthless organised criminal network.

"The upper echelon of the network directed others to engage in excessive violence through robberies or burglaries with no regard for the trauma and anguish caused to their victims.

"Their only concern was their reckless pursuit in obtaining their high value ill-gained commodities, which in this case were vehicles."


  • Mechanic Abbas, of New Cross, was sentenced to five years in jail.
  • Tube driver Holt, of Sidcup, Kent, was jailed for four years.
  • The third key gang member - unemployed Robert Taylor, 36, of Peckham - was jailed for 30 months. All three were convicted of conspiracy to defraud.
  • Police trainee Rayfield of Sidcup, Kent, admitted three counts of forgery and dishonest handling and was sentenced to 75 hours community service.
  • DVLA employee Adams, 31, now a security guard of Barnhurst, Kent, admitted corruption in a public office and was sentenced to 200 hours community service.
  • Michael Kingsley, 40, a motor trader from Brockley, south-east London, admitted conspiracy to dishonestly handle and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
  • Jason Okoh, 32, a salesman of South Norwood, south London, admitted conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to one year in prison.
  • Doorman Mark Danlardy, 32, of East Dulwich, admitted conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
  • Unemployed Terrance Harding, 31, of Colliers Wood, south-west London, admitted conspiracy to dishonestly handle and was sentenced to nine months in prison.
  • Unemployed Matthew Wilson, 52, of Orpington, Kent, admitted dishonest handling and was sentenced to a 12 month suspended prison sentence last month.