A judge has praised the six members of a West Yorks car cloning cartel who were recently jailed by Leeds Crown Court for providing new identities to stolen cars worth nearly half a million pounds.

Judge Scott Wolstenholme described them as intelligent and industrious young men, able to make a positive contribution to society. Their conspiracy, he noted, was well organised, professional and motivated by a real passion for high-value motor vehicles.

He nevertheless felt impelled to sentence the sextet to a total of 16 years for this “serious professional crime.”

Scotty said the slick sixsome, had taken advantage of the fact that the DVLA did not carry out physical checks on vehicles imported by private individuals. “The public is sick,” he said, “of car crime, resulting in the loss of cherished and valuable property.”

Chief conspirator Padala Satti Reddy, 26, got three years and seven months. His brother Padala Somi Reddy, 24, Reuben Browne, 24, and Naveed Akhtar, 31, each got three. Sundeep Matharu, 24, and Tahir Mahmood, 24, got just 21 months.

The close-knit group, all from the same small area of Bradford, obtained details of new cars sold to overseas buyers, then forged documents for stolen cars of similar make, model and colour suggesting they had been imported. The clones were registered with the DVLA and then sold on, used in insurance scams, or simply driven by members of the gang.

Seventeen vehicles including a BMW and two Range Rover Sports models had been cloned, while the gang had ten further identities read to use. Mark Pronger, the detective whose investigation nailed the gang, said the sentences reflected the professional nature and high value of the conspiracy.

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