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Crime

Two Crawley men sent to prison for defrauding car owners of thousands of pounds

A Sussex Police investigation has broken up a Crawley-based ‘car ringing’ conspiracy which defrauded car owners of high value cars of thousands of pounds, with the two men being sent to prison.

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Imran Raja and Arran Khan (left to right in these photos)

At Hove Crown Court on Tuesday 2 April, Imran Raja, 38, of Langley Drive, Crawley, and Arran Khan, 28, of West Way, Crawley , were sentenced to three years and six months, and to three years and ten months, respectively, for conspiracy to defraud.

Both had been convicted on 7 February after a five-week trial.

Imran Raja and Arran Khan each had their own car trading or car repair businesses in Crawley, through which they channelled their illegal activities.

See also our photos of three examples of cars, before and after they were ‘ringed’.

Detective Constable Nick Tinley of the force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit said;

“The defendants bought badly damaged and written off cars, mainly top of the range BMW’s, repaired them, often with stolen parts, and then sold them on. The sales were fraudulent because the buyers were deceived as to the true previous history of the cars.

“Most of the cars that they repaired were deemed by the insurance industry to be beyond repair. They should have their bodyshell crushed and should not go back on the road. The defendants took advantage of then-existing procedural loop holes in the insurance and salvage industry processes, and the processes of VOSA and the DVLA to put a number of these vehicles back on the road.

“It is fair to say that some of those loop-holes have since been addressed and procedures tightened, since our investigation – we made the arrests in 2015.

“Several vehicles were purchased for export using an account registered in Belgium. These vehicles however did not leave the UK, instead they were acquired by the defendants and repaired in Crawley.

“By restoring damaged vehicles using stolen parts, altering the mileage or by producing replicas of limited editions using stolen parts, the defendants conspired to defraud the purchasers and make a greater profit from their operations.

“The defendants produced a number of replicas of the limited edition BMW 1M model. Only four 1Ms have been stolen in the UK and the defendants were found to have handled parts from three of them.

“Our enquiries centred on Arran Khan’s Ebay-based business ‘Affordable Performance’ and Imran Raja’s company, Customize Bodyworkz in Three Bridges, Crawley, and another location also in Three Bridges which was not the subject of any convictions.

In sentencing the pair, Judge Christine Henson assessed the loss to victims in respect of seven cars which formed the basis of the prosecution evidence, at between £90,000 and £100,000.

Judge Henson said;

“both had the highest level of culpability in the fraud, which involved significant planning over a sustained period of time.

“I consider it to be a real aggravating factor that the defendants were prepared to carry out cosmetic repairs with no consideration of the safety of the victims or other road users. If a structurally compromised vehicle had been involved in a collision the consequences could have been fatal.”

She also disqualified both men from being Company Directors for seven years, describing them as unfit for the role.

Police enquiries have not ended with these sentencings. An investigation is continuing into the financial assets of Khan and Raja with a view to a court hearing at a later date to seek confiscation orders against them under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Nick Tinley said:

“Members of the public in the market for a second hand vehicle are advised to carry out diligent checks before making a purchase. This case has shown that there are dishonest individuals out there who are capable of making wrecked cars look ‘showroom’ again, while conducting only superficial repairs”.

Khalid Khan, 54, of Martyrs Avenue, Crawley; Jose Teixeira, 38, of Ramsey Close, Horley; and Ian McMurray, 49, of Pelling Way, Broadbridge Heath, Horsham, were all found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud, and Scott Bolger, 45, of Chadwick Close, Horley, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Crime

Urgent appeal as £5k reward offered to find violent man who ransacked Crawley shop and assaulted child

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Police have launched an urgent appeal and offered a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the capture of Jordan Charles.

Charles has links to Crawley and Bexhill in East Sussex as well as Croydon in South London.

The appeal for anonymous information has been launched to urgently find 23-year-old Jordan Charles, who is wanted for questioning over a series of violent incidents in Sussex.  

A string of offences in recent months includes: violence and robbery; threatening revellers with a knife in Brighton; using racist and homophobic language; spitting saliva and blood at police; ransacking a takeaway in Crawley and attacking a customer; attacking staff at another Crawley restaurant with a glass and a metal chain dog lead wrapped around his hand; punching and kicking a woman to the floor outside a nightclub; assaulting a 12-year-old girl who had come to the aid of her mother and aunt during a parking dispute.

He has also failed to appear in court.

Jordan Charles is black, about 5’ 9″, of medium build and with black hair. He is known to have links to Crawley, and is thought to still frequent the area.

Glenys Balchin, Crimestoppers Regional Manager said:

“This man must be found before anyone else comes to harm, which is why we are making an urgent appeal to the public in Sussex, Surrey and south London to help find his location. Jordan Charles is dangerous and the allegations against him are serious.
 
“It is important to remind people that assisting somebody wanted for questioning over a crime can lead to prosecution. We are appealing to anybody who may know the whereabouts of Jordan Charles to urgently tell our charity what you know 100% anonymously. Always. You can call our UK Contact Centre, which is open 24/7, on freephone number 0800 555 111 or you can use our simple and secure anonymous online form.
 
“Crimestoppers has been taking crime information since our charity was formed over 32 years ago. Every day over a thousand people trust our charity with their anonymous information. Nobody will know you contacted us, only you.”

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