TWO “middle level villains” were jailed for handling stolen luxury cars after working with a gang of thieves operating across South Wales and the West Country.

Ryan Parry, 31, and Matthew Price, 36, both from Caerphilly, sold on a Mercedes CLA 180 to a woman in Merseyside following a burglary in Cardiff.

The career criminal pair were also jointly involved in handling a stolen Jaguar XE Sport and a Ford Kuga, taken after raids in Somerset and Swansea respectively.

Parry was solely involved in handling a pinched Volkswagen Tiguan following a burglary in Newport and an Audi S3 driven away after a break-in at the Manheim Bristol auction house.

South Wales Argus:

The Audi S3 stolen from Manheim Bristol auction house. Picture: CPS Wales

Heath Edwards, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court the combined potential value of the five vehicles was initially estimated to be just over £100,000.

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But that amount was later adjusted to a revised figure of £85,000.

You are middle level villains in my book who turn your hand to anything that comes your way

The stolen Mercedes CLA 180 was advertised on eBay and driven to Merseyside with false plates and sold to a buyer there for £10,000.

Mr Edwards said: “The customer believed she was getting a good deal because she thought it was worth £12,000.

South Wales Argus:

Ryan Parry

“Price gave her his address and mobile phone number and the money was transferred into the bank account of his girlfriend Sarah Hallett. There was no logbook.”

The woman contacted the police when she noticed the same model car being advertised for sale on eBay a few months later.

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Mr Edwards told the court how the Volkswagen Tiguan was found after a driver in Trethomas drove past it and noticed it had the same “cloned” number plates as his own.

He followed it and called the police who found a receipt inside from a business Parry’s girlfriend Carly Stephens was involved with called Groomers.

South Wales Argus:

Matthew Price

They also linked Parry to the vehicle because his DNA was on the gearstick.

Parry, of Mountain View, Pwllypant, Caerphilly, admitted five counts of handling stolen goods.

Price, of Central Street, Pwllypant, Caerphilly, pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods.

The offences were committed between August 2018 and February 2020.

Sarah Hallett, 45, also of Central Street, Pwllypant, Caerphilly, pleaded not guilty to transferring criminal property and the prosecution offered no evidence.

She was formally cleared of the charge and told she could leave the dock.

Mr Edwards said Parry has 25 previous convictions for 82 offences, including prison sentences for grievous bodily harm and possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Price also has 25 previous convictions but for 62 offences, including a custodial term for possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Byron Broadstock, for Parry, asked for his client’s early guilty pleas to be taken into account and Kevin Seal, representing Price asked the court to consider the lengthy time it had taken foe the case to come to court

Judge Michael Fitton QC told the pair: “You were both significant movers in this operation.

“You both have deeply unattractive criminal records.

“You are middle level villains in my book who turn your hand to anything that comes your way.”

He said these offences had been “cynical and dishonest”.

Parry was jailed for 12 months and Price for eight months.

Speaking outside the court, PC Rhys Jones said: “Price and Parry were arrested following an intelligence-led operation in February.

“Warrants were executed in the Caerphilly area following months of investigation by our team.

“Our activity targets organised crime, and Price and Parry have paid the price for their criminality today.

“I hope these sentences serve as a reminder to those partaking in such criminality that, with support from local communities, action will be taken against them and there will be consequences.”