Three burglars who stole luxury cars worth £500,000 from homes in just over one month unwittingly led police to their doors.

For unknown to the thieving trio, the first vehicle they stole, a £33,000 Audi A3 Quattro from a driveway in Bacup, had an embedded tracking device and each time they used it to target other victims the data was recorded.

Police were also able to use cell siting technology to show the criminals’ mobile phones had been in the vicinity of the numerous burglaries.

The professional gang raided houses using blow torches to burn locks off and got in to steal vehicle keys as well as other high value items including designer handbags and jewellery.

Bradley Anderson, Lucas Hunter and Daniel Scollins appeared in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, August 26, and together received sentences totalling 24 years.

Although they were not all involved in all the raids, said to number between 18 to 21, Judge David Swinnerton told them, “You were in it together.”

Only three of the cars, which included BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis and Volkswagens, have ever been recovered, but the judge pointed out while victims had the “hassle” of making insurance claims it was the emotional and psychological damage that was the most significant.

He said impact statements from the victims, at least three of whom had sleeping children in their homes, showed the adverse affects of the burglaries.

“They talk about feeling on edge, paranoid, shaking,” he said. One woman was too scared to live in her own home afterwards and wanted to sell up, he added.

“That is the sort of impact you had on people,” said Judge Swinnerton.

Anderson, 28, of Leighton Street, Boston; Hunter, 29, of Dalham Avenue, Blackley, and Scollins, 31, of Rydell House, Hyde, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle between December 28, 2021 and February 2 this year.

Dad-of-four Hunter, who got involved after losing his bouncy castle business, and Anderson, were both jailed for eight years three months and Scollins received seven and a half years.

The court heard all three men have previous convictions and Anderson and Scollins were on licence at the time, and were recalled to prison.

Michael Scholes, prosecuting, said that the gang stole the Audi A3 Quattro on December 28 last year from a home in Bacup.

Evidence from the embedded tracker showed it was used in the commission of 18 burglaries or attempted burglaries and one theft in the Greater Manchester area.

After it was stolen it was kept in a walled yard in Lees Street, Openshaw, and “from there it was utilised again and again for further burglaries,” said Mr Scholes.

Only three of the 19 stolen cars have been recovered, one in Scotland and other in the South of England, and “a ballpark figure” for the value of the cars was between £400,000 and £500,000, he said.


The men sometimes raided several houses on one night including January 10, when they struck in Prestwich, Boothstown, Worsley, Davyhulme and Harpurhey.

Hunter and Anderson were arrested on February 2 when police officers saw them at the walled yard in Openshaw and in Hunter’s pocket was a key for the Audi A3 kept there. Scollins was arrested on February 8.

Hunter pleaded guilty on the basis of 13 burglaries and two attempt burglaries; Anderson admitted involvement in eight burglaries and Scollins accepted involvement in 16 of the raids.

Paul Hodgkinson, mitigating, said Hunter lives with his partner and four young children. He has 16 convictions for 33 offences but in 2014 decided to turn his back on crime.

He set up a bouncy castle business but after losing his driving licence for having two bald tyres last year he got involved in the conspiracy to “support his family.”

Also in mitigation, Brendan O’Leary said Anderson, who has 34 convictions for 61 offences, had had a difficult upbringing. His mum died when he was two and his dad had alcohol issues and he “was left to fend for himself.”

He now has a supportive partner and an 18-month-old daughter and he recognises “it is time for him to wake up.”

Scollins’ counsel Adam Watkins told the court the defendant, who has 42 previous convictions, had pleaded guilty at an early stage.

He only has one conviction for dwelling house burglary which was in 2005 and the conspiracy was unlikely to have been his idea but “he still bears full personal responsibility.”

After turning to Class A drugs he lost his employment and built up a debt to his dealer which  led to this burglary plot, said Mr Watkins.