A MAN who conspired to steal tractors valued at £500,000 from farms in Lincolnshire for illegal export to Iraq has been jailed for six years.
Terence Frost, 53, from Doncaster, was found guilty alongside Asso Jabar, 31, from Wakefield, who was also jailed for five and half years, after a two-week trial at Lincoln Crown Court.
The court was told the pair ‘ran off’ after police discovered two stolen tractors being loaded onto an articulated lorry at a rented farm near Louth.
Lincolnshire Police launched Operation Goldflake after a string of high-value tractor thefts during the summer of 2010. The jury heard tractors were stolen from the county and then illegally exported to countries such as Turkey and Iraq for use in the building trade.
Passing sentence, Judge Michael Heath told both men: “The value of the stolen tractors is about £500,000. There were ten incidents of the theft of tractors and the theft of a JCB.
“This was a well-organised, well-planned, professional operation which involved the theft of tractors from farms in Lincolnshire and their transmission to Iraq.
“The theft of tractors from farms is a serious problem in rural areas like Lincolnshire.”
Frost’s DNA was found on a drinks bottle in a silver car that was abandoned after police discovered two stolen tractors at the farm on the outskirts of Fotherby in August 2010.
The same car had also been previously registered to Frost’s daughter.
Luke Blackburn, prosecuting, told the jury that Frost was among a number of men who ran away from Glebe Farm after a police car arrived.
Mr Blackburn said Frost then fled to his family’s seaside caravan in Chapel St Leonards, near Skegness, where he was picked up by his son, Kirk.
Jabar also fled from Glebe Farm in a black car after police arrived – leaving behind an innocent lone Turkish lorry driver.
Mr Blackburn added: “By this time everybody had run away except for the lorry driver. He must have wondered what was going on.”
The jury were told Frost and Jabar had met up several days earlier outside the Hill Top Garage in Welton le Wold, where they were caught on CCTV shortly before a Turkish-registered articulated lorry arrived.
Jabar later told police the meeting was a coincidence.
The jury were told three other men had pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. They are Kirk Frost, 28, of Broadwater Drive, Dunscroft, Doncaster; Johnathan Isle, 27, of Elm Tree House, Thorne; and John Frost, 44, of Hedon Road, Hull.
They will be sentenced next month.
Terence Frost, of Broadwater Drive, Dunscroft, Doncaster; and Jabar, of Agbrigg Road, Wakefield, both denied the conspiracy.
Speaking after the case DCI Dave Wood from Lincolnshire Police said: “Over the last two years a team of dedicated officers has pieced together the mechanics of this organised crime enterprise.
“This investigation found that the offenders were using a Turkish haulage firm to ship these vehicles abroad, mainly to Iraq, where they were being used in the building industry.
“I hope this demonstrates to all of the farmers in Lincolnshire who suffered as a result of these crimes that the police are dedicated to tackling rural crime.”