Former detective jailed over keyless car thefts

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Image caption,
Raudis had worked as a detective in Lithuania but was "dismissed for corruption"

A "corrupt" former detective showed an "appalling record of dishonesty" by stealing keyless cars, a court heard.

Valdas Raudis, 43, was involved in the theft of 10 vehicles, worth more than £220,000, across Peterborough between June and October 2019.

Cambridge Crown Court heard Raudis "used his knowledge of police tactics and strategies to avoid detection".

Sentencing, Judge David Farrell described the case as a "highly sophisticated criminal enterprise".

The court was told Raudis used "expensive relay equipment" to acquire keyfob frequencies from within homes in order to bypass security systems on keyless cars.

The process needed two people working together with £15,000 digital devices to carry out each theft, Suki Dhadda, prosecuting, said.

Vehicles were stolen and left in communal car parks to allow time for any GPS system to track them down.

Six cars were recovered in four car parks around the city, but untraced vehicles were dismantled and exported in parts to Eastern Europe and Africa, Ms Dhadda added.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Raudis was involved in the theft of 10 keyless cars across Peterborough

A disabled badge, as well as a child seat and scooter, were recovered belonging to cars that were never found, the court was told.

Raudis knew how the police would investigate because he had worked as a detective in a vehicle unit in Lithuania, where he had been "dismissed for corruption", abuse in public office and extortion in 2011.

He was also handed a suspended jail term in Germany in 2018 for dealing in stolen goods, the court learned.

"It undoubtedly enabled you as part of an organised crime group to become involved in this substantial conspiracy," Judge Farrell told him.

Police also discovered a converted loft full of cannabis plants and associated paraphernalia when Raudis was arrested at his home in West Parade, Peterborough, on 5 March, 2020.

Image caption,
Co-defendant Paulius Puras was jailed for 28 months in January

He was jailed for three years and eight months after admitting three offences, including cannabis production. He will serve half the sentence and face deportation, the judge said.

A co-defendant, Paulius Puras, was jailed for 28 months in January for his involvement.

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