A ROMANIAN who set up a business stripping stolen vehicles to sell parts for cash is facing deportation after he was jailed.
Police raided a rundown building in Darnall, Sheffield, and found Claudio Ihnatiuc and three other Romanians working on two high-value vehicles.
Sheffield Crown Court heard a black Range Rover worth £18,500 and a Land Rover valued at £18,000 were stolen from Airmyn, near Goole, and Boston Spa, near Wetherby, respectively.
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said the Range Rover was stolen from a garage in April 16 last year and the Land Rover from the owner’s driveway the following month.
An £18,000 BMW 5 series sports car was later stolen from a cottage in Hope, Derbyshire, in June.
Police inquiries led to Darnall Road after a security guard spotted the stolen BMW being driven erratically on wasteland in the early hours of June 18 last year.
Officers noticed a nearby building in disrepair and inside found the three Romanians working.
Ihnatiuc introduced himself as the tenant of the premises and said all the property inside belonged to him.
He was then arrested and the other three released without charge.
Car parts from the stolen Range Rover and Land Rover were found at the building.
Ihnatiuc, 35, said he had set up a business buying and stripping down cars for parts.
“The defendant said he hoped to make twice or three times his initial investment,” said Mr Coxon.
He claimed he had bought the Range Rover for £6,500 and the Land Rover for £4,900 from a man he only knew as “John”. He admitted the vehicles were worth far more than what he paid for them.
Ihnatiuc, of Staniforth Road in Darnall, admitted two charges of handling stolen goods. He denied stealing the BMW and a not guilty verdict was recorded.
He has convictions in Australia for trafficking heroin and shoplifting.
Judge Robert Moore said Ihnatiuc had hoped to “double his money” and bought the two stolen vehicles for less than half of what they were really worth.
He told him: “Offences of stealing high-value vehicles have ballooned because people like you were ready to buy them.”
Ihnatiuc was jailed for 21 months and he may be deported when he is released.