Southampton 'highly organised' eBay gang sentenced
A group of family members and friends have been jailed for their parts a "highly organised" criminal enterprise selling stolen goods on eBay.
The gang from Hampshire were involved in a conspiracy to shoplift from Homebase and B&Q stores in 13 counties.
They are believed to have made more than £250,000 selling items such as showers, bathroom fittings and vacuum cleaners online.
Six men and four women were jailed. Two others avoided jail.
One was given a suspended sentence and another was given a community order.'Postmistress general'
The orchestrator of the thefts George Mason, who was sentenced to five years in prison, was described by the Judge Peter Blair QC as "an arrogant, boastful, 31-year-old who appears to think he was untouchable".
Mason, of Meggeson Avenue, Southampton, had been responsible for recruiting members of his family and friends to help run his criminal business, the court was told.
He was found guilty of conspiracy to steal bathroom fixtures and fittings and other products, and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert criminal property.
The court heard he had 14 previous convictions for theft.
The judge said he had "had most of the available court sentences that exist" and added: "Those previous sentences have failed to deter you from a criminal lifestyle."
Mason's sister Yvonne Banaghan, 35, of Victoria Road, Southampton, was described as "the postmistress general" of the operation and had been responsible for packing and posting many of the stolen items out to eBay buyers.
She received two and a half years in prison.
Mason's mother Caroline Kirkland, 55, of Violet Road, Southampton, and her neighbour Michelle Moore, 46, received six months and nine months respectively for storing the stolen goods and helping sell them from their homes.
Banaghan, Kirkland and Moore were each convicted of conspiracy to convert criminal property, which included bathroom fixtures and fittings.
Six members of the gang were friends or neighbours.
For much of the proceedings nine defendants sat in the seats normally reserved for the jury at Southampton Crown Court, because there was not enough room in the dock.
The other defendants and their sentences are:
- Jeremy French, 38, of Inkerman Road, Southampton and brother-in-law of Mason - two years in prison.
- Mark Bowers, 45, of Minstead Avenue, Southampton - jailed for three-and-a-half years.
- Ryan Vaughan, 26, of Doncaster Road, Eastleigh - two years and three months in prison.
- Kevin Owen, 35, of Violet Road, Southampton - jailed for three-and-a-half years.
- Shelley Emm, 28, of Walnut Avenue, Southampton - 14 months in prison.
- Darren Mintram, 34, of Walnut Avenue, Southampton - two years and nine months in prison.
- Lindsey Daish, 28, of Rapide Close, Eastleigh - 18 months prison sentence suspended for two years, and 200 hours community service.
- Amy Daniels, 20, of Bursledon Road, Southampton - community order with 12 months supervision.