1:20pm Monday 19th March 2012
Three Lithuanian men have been jailed for stealing eight outboard engines worth £32,500 from Burton boat club.
On Friday, Arunas Cebas, aged 32, Gediminas Mickus, aged 30, and 22-year-old Andrius Pulmickas, were each jailed for 16 months for the latest raid.
Swansea crown court heard that Cebas and Mickus, from London, claimed they had been approached by a man speaking Russian who asked them if they wanted to make between £400 and £500 an engine.
A Ford Mondeo was provided, along with a Tom Tom satnav already programmed. They recruited Pulmickas to drive a Mercedes Vito, also with a satnav.
Both crews also had walkie-talkies programmed to channel five.
Nichola Powell, prosecuting, said early on January 13th police stopped the Vito between Burton and Haverfordwest and found six outboards in the back, along with the other equipment. They also discovered an angle grinder and bolt cutters.
Shortly afterwards they stopped the Mondeo. One of the occupants gave the same address as Pulmickas and they too had a walkie-talkie programmed to channel five.
An investigation at Burton boat club showed that the gang had snapped a padlock but then replaced it with a new one to avert suspicion.
Then they had spent six hours damaging boats as they cut off the engines, damaging both the boats and the engines.
Only six of the engines were recovered.
Miss Powell said Cebas and Mickus made full admissions during police interviews, while Pulmickas had maintained he had been a professional driver and that he had been hired for just another job.
Miss Powell told the court it had proved impossible to identify the real owners of the vehicles.
David Lloyd, the barrister representing all three, said they were hard working men who had escaped the harsh economic situation in their home country.
Judge Keith Thomas asked why he should not view them as men who had come to the United Kingdom in order to steal.
Mr Lloyd said he accepted there had been an "organising mind behind the misadventure" but described them as only footsoldiers.
Judge Thomas described the operation as planned, organised and sophisticated.
He said Cebas, Mickus, and Pulmickas had been armed with vehicles, satnavs, a battery operated angle grinder, boltcutters, walkie-talkies, rubber gloves and other tools.
Judge Thomas confiscated both vehicles and contents, plus the £400 the men had been carrying in cash.
He also took advantage of the criminal courts sentencing act to ban all three men from driving for three years.
The question of deportation, he added, would be for the government.
Just three months ago another Lithuanian was jailed for four years for stealing £40,000 worth of marine engines from Neyland Marina.
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