Couple sentenced following police raid on Solihull chop shop

Couple sentenced following police raid on Solihull chop shop
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Six cars – including Audis and BMWs – were taken to the garage located on a farm.

A man has been jailed and a woman handed a suspended sentence after they admitted using farm buildings as luxury car chop shop.

Theodore Sotiriou and Chloe Catchpowle rented a garage at Lady Lane Farm in Solihull and were paid for allowing the cars to be stripped and dismantled there.

The couple were rumbled when the farmer became suspicious about the number of vehicles coming in and out of the address in late 2016, BirminghamLive reports.

Police raided the address in July 2017 and found one of the stolen cars parked outside, along with “fragments” of other stolen vehicles.

James Scott, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court six cars had been taken there – three BMWs, two Audis and a Mercedes – with a total value of around £130,000.

Two had been taken during car key burglaries and the one parked outside stolen just the day before, the court heard.

Mr Scott said: “They had allowed those more deeply involved and higher up the chain to use their garage as a workplace to strip down what were valuable cars for their vehicle parts.

“They were paid for each car dismantled there,” said Mr Scott.

He said police found messages on Catchpowle’s phone referring to payments of £200 and £500 and references to “John’s boys” using the premises to cut up an Audi.

Sotiriou, 41, was previously found guilty, following a trial, of conspiracy to handle stolen goods. He was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Catchpowle, 26, who previously admitted the same charge, was sentenced to 22 months suspended for 18 months.

Passing sentence Judge John Butterfield QC told them: “You rented a property and took advantage of the seclusion of that property to allow an operation to run in the garage.

“From time to time abandoned car parts were found abandoned in a nearby road. It was a highly organised and industrial enterprise.”

He said he had taken into account their previous good characters.

The judge said Sotiriou, who was not in the best of health, had played the prominent role.