Man jailed for selling stolen items to police second hand shop - Luton

28/08/2013

A man arrested when Bedfordshire Police opened a second hand shop in Luton to catch criminals selling stolen electrical goods, identity documents, bank cards, and mobile phones, was today, Wednesday, 28 August 2013, jailed for 14 months.

James Lake, 35, of Cranborne Avenue, Hitchin, received a total of £435 for items sold on his behalf at 'This and That' in High Town.

The shop was manned by undercover officers 'Joanne' and 'Lee,' who bought and sold the second hand goods on the premises, on the streets or at the customers' homes.

Luton Crown Court heard Lake, who was known as 'Lakey,' provided identity documents and bank cards for others to sell. He went to the shop himself on two occasions and also met with the officers showing them gold items that he was going to sell elsewhere. He had 18 bank cards, two licences, one passport, and two identity documents. Some of the 18 cards were identified as being stolen in two burglaries.

Lake, who was addicted to Class A drugs, was one of a number arrested by the police at the end of Operation Generous, which ran between 06 June 2012 and 20 February this year. They were receiving around £150 for passports, £40 for driving licences, and £20 or £15 for bank cards.

At an earlier hearing at Luton Crown Court Lake pleaded guilty to six counts: fraud, handling stolen goods, and possessing identity documents. He was bailed and sentence was adjourned for a Drug Rehabilitation assessment, but he breached the terms of his bail. He had 21 convictions for 53 previous offences.

Stephen Halloran, defending, said Lake's offending lasted only a week or so. He said he had an offer to work "at sea," which would enforce abstinence from drugs and drink. He said he had received lengthy sentences in the past and now wanted to put his offending behind him.

Judge Stuart Bridge told him: "You provided 23 items to undercover police officers. Your addiction to Class A drugs appears intractable. Having heard from probation and received the report, a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement is not appropriate at this stage. An immediate custodial sentence is inevitable.

"It is clear there is a need for intensive support on your release. You are at a  very high risk of re-offending unless your drug problems are resolved."

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