A VAN thief has been jailed for almost six years after a spate of keyless van thefts.

Craig Everitt is believed to have been a prominent member of a gang targeting Transit vans in the Black Country in November last year.

Following detailed investigation and CCTV analysis the 39-year-old was linked to the keyless thefts of six vans from outside addresses in Dudley, Wolverhampton and Sandwell in just two weeks between November 14-28.

Prime suspect Everitt was arrested in Perton in early December - the same day that he and an associate Richard Howell had attempted to steal a Ford Focus RS in Shrewsbury.

Officers were also able to connect Everitt to the theft of keys from address in Derby in October where a BMW was taken and later traced to a garage lock-up in Penn, Wolverhampton.

Everitt, of Daley Road, Bilston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal Transit vans, keys to the BMW and attempted theft of the Ford. 

He was sentenced to a total of five years and 10 months imprisonment at Wolverhampton Crown Court last Friday. 

Howell, aged 42, of Carder Crescent, Bilston, admitted to attempted theft of the Ford vehicle and was jailed for 12 months.

DC Richard Taberner, said: “We don’t underestimate the inconvenience and impact of such crimes - which can be connected to further criminal activity where some vehicles are broken down at so-called ‘chop shops.’

“We hope this will send out a strong warning to would-be vehicle thieves that such offences will not be tolerated and we will catch and look to put you behind bars."