Teens arrested over car-jack series – as others charged with car thefts

Four teenagers have been arrested in connection with a series of high-value car-jackings in Birmingham.

West Midlands Police officers patrolling Birmingham city centre in the early hours of yesterday morning (25 July) pulled over a Range Rover Evoque believed to be travelling on cloned registration plates.

The Evoque was stolen during a car-jacking in Hervey Road, Erdington, on Sunday (23 July) and the four occupants – three men aged 18 and one 16-year-old male youth – were arrested on suspicion of robbery.

They have also been quizzed over two more recent car robberies – in Jervoise Street, West Bromwich, where a Range Rover was taken and York Road, Handsworth, when a BMW was stolen by four masked offenders.

All four have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Meanwhile, three men suspected of being part of a vehicle theft gang have appeared at court in connection with a burglary in which two cars were stolen and a car theft from a Sandwell street.

Luke Hodson (19) from Lower Higley Close, Quinton, and 20-year-old Joseph Brennan from Tamerton Road in Bartley Green appeared before Dudley magistrates today charged with aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

A third man, 18-year-old Ronan Lewis from Goodman Street, Ladywood, also appeared accused of going equipped to steal.

The charges relate to a theft in Hales Lane, Smethwick, on Friday (21 July) when a Ford Fiesta Titanium was stolen and an overnight burglary (4-5 July) at an address in Frampton Way, Pheasey, when another Fiesta and a Vauxhall Astra were taken from a driveway.

Another man, 24-year-old Jacob Brown from Bowling Green Lane, Handsworth, is set to appear at the same court on 8 August charged with taking a vehicle without consent as part the same investigation.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Three handed life prison terms for drive-by killing of Black Country dad

Three men have been jailed for life having been convicted of the fatal drive-by shooting of a Black Country dad.

Father-of-one Carl Campbell (pic bottom) was ambushed as he sat in a car at traffic lights in Dartmouth Street, West Bromwich, on 27 December last year.

Gunman Mohammed Humza, aged 19 (pic centre), fired five shots at the Ford Fiesta in which Mr Campbell was a passenger; one of the bullets ricocheted off the dashboard into the 33-year-old’s head and killed him instantly.

Humza was sped from the scene in a stolen Audi Q5 by getaway driver Vikesh Chauhan, aged 24, with co-conspirator Jaspal Rai in the front passenger seat.

They were seen by a witness laughing, smiling and appearing “quite happy with themselves” as they dumped the Audi across town in Kiniths Crescent.

However, West Midlands Police officers had already flooded the area having been alerted to the shooting over police airwaves – and both Humza and Chauhan were arrested as they tried running out of the residential cul-de-sac.

Both men were detained within just 10 minutes of the killing, while 24-year-old Rai was arrested by Belgian police on 8 January 24 hours after he skipped the UK in a failed bid to seek refuge on the Continent.

Two spent bullet cartridges fell from folds in Humza’s jacket as officers searched him in the street and another casing was later found in his pocket.

Humza was seen discarding items as he fled and an extensive search of gardens near the abandoned Audi uncovered a Smith & Wesson revolver, a sheathed knife and gloves.

Forensic tests on Humza’s jacket revealed high levels of gunshot residue, while his DNA was found on the knife and the black gloves – significant as a witness described the shooter wearing black gloves when they pulled the trigger.

Chauhan’s DNA was found on the driver’s door handle and steering wheel of the Audi, while Rai’s fingerprints were found in the car and his DNA on another glove found in nearby Dagger Lane.

Both claimed they had no idea Humza was armed with a loaded revolver and played no part in a murder conspiracy.

All three initially denied murder but Humza entered a guilty plea midway through the trial at Birmingham Crown Court, while Chauhan and Rai were both found guilty by a jury.

And at the same court today Chauhan and Rai were jailed for a minimum of 30 years with Humza – who received a five per cent discount for his late admission – told he’ll be behind bars for at least 28-and-a-half years.

Lead investigating officer, Detective Inspector Jim Munro, said: “The motive for the killing is still not clear – but what we can say definitively is that together they intended to kill or cause really serious injury to Carl Campbell.

“Chauhan and Rai pleaded ignorance – but Humza would not just produce and use a loaded gun and shoot someone in front of people who were not in on the plan and whom he could not trust; he would be taking a huge risk to do so.

“He counted on their support and assistance…and that’s what he got. This was a joint venture between the three; the gun was in Humza’s hands but the others knew about it and that it was to be used to shoot and kill. In essence, they were all in joint possession of the gun on that fateful day.

“Hopefully the victim’s family can take some comfort from the fact the killers will spend much of their lives behind bars.”

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Burglar traced to seaside camping hideout

A prolific thief has been sent to a youth offenders institute for a series of burglaries in Solihull – after West Midlands Police traced him to his seaside campsite hiding place.

Lewis Tilley (pictured) was wanted in connection with three house raids in a matter of weeks, including one at a family home in Dorridge on April 22 where a computer and sentimental jewellery was stolen.

Detectives identified the 19-year-old as a suspect when officers responding to a 1am call for help in Rashwood Close, Hockley Heath, on March 10 found a mobile phone that had been dropped in a garden.

Examination of its contacts and messages linked it to Tilley – who has 25 convictions for theft, robbery, burglary and other offences dating back to 2009 when he was just 11 – but he evaded capture despite several arrest attempts at addresses.

However, enquiries pointed to him lying low at a campsite in Brean and on 18 June he was arrested from a car in Washwood Heath Road having been tracked heading north on the M5 from the Somerset holiday spot.

He denied the burglaries, plus a car theft in Highgate and a failed break-in at Tutnall Drive in Hockley Heath, and refused to answer any police questions.

But in the face of compelling evidence he later admitted burglary, attempted burglary and car theft and at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (July 21) was sent to a youth offenders institute for three years.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kate Fitzgerald, said: “Tilley is still a teenager but has a string of burglary offences to his name; he has broken into properties in the middle of the night and also struck at family homes.

“It seems he doesn’t care who he hurts or what psychological damage he inflicts on victims. One woman awoke to find him rooting through her home – and it’s lucky children were not home when he struck at the family address.

“Tilley thought he could avoid capture at a campsite in Somerset but we found him and he’s now swapped a beautiful seaside spot for a youth offenders institute.

“We offer people like Tilley a way to escape a life of crime: with partner agencies we have programmes designed to rehabilitate offenders. But if they refuse to engage with us and continue offending they can expect to spend much of their life locked away from society.”

Tilley also struck at a house in Coventry Road, Solihull on 28 April having kicked open a wooden front door but made off after being disturbed by a neighbour.

West Midlands Police has embarked on a concerted blitz on burglars and offenders who cause most misery in communities – and two recent ‘All Out Days’ have netted more than 100 suspects.

Members of the public can play their part in helping catch offenders and are urged to check out the force’s Most Wanted gallery. Anyone with information is asked to call the force on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Police appeal to trace suspected fraudster

Police are appealing for information after a family were defrauded by a man claiming to work for Birmingham City Council.

The suspect knocked on the door of the family home in Edgbaston claiming they owed a large fine because the children had not attended school, and they would be deported if it was not paid.

The family did not suspect the claim was fraudulent because the man had specific personal details about them including names.

The family handed over the full amount and the suspect forced them to sign a document he claimed was a deportation order. As a result the parents sent their four children to live in Slovakia with extended family.

After the incident on 7 March their suspicions grew and they eventually decided to report it to police and supplied a picture they took of the suspect at the time.

Checks have been made and the man is not employed by the council. While the council may visit people’s homes when investigating concerns relating to school attendance and can separately issue fines for non-attendance, officers will never ask for payment on the doorstep. People should always check callers’ identification and, if in doubt, do not let them in.

If you know who this man is, please contact DC Rabnawaz via email [email protected] Alternatively you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Please quote crime number 20BW/64092C/17.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Bus company and driver charged over fatal Coventry crash

A bus company and one of its drivers have been charged over a fatal bus crash in Coventry in which two people died.

Investigators from West Midlands Police’s Collision Investigation Unit have today (July 24) charged driver Kailash Chander – a 79-year-old man from Leamington Spa – with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Charges have also been authorised against Midland Red South (Ltd) – the owners of the bus and Mr Chander’s employers – in respect of Sections 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety Act 1974.

It’s alleged they failed to ensure the safety of persons within its employment and failing to ensure the safety of members of the public.

The crash in Trinity Street on 3 October 2015 resulted in the death of eight-year-old Rowan Fitzgerald, a passenger on the bus, and pedestrian Dora Hancox who was in her 70s.

Mr Chander and representatives for Midland Red South (Ltd) will appear before Coventry Magistrates on 7 September.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Officers appeal for help to find missing Birmingham man

Police are urgently appealing for information to find missing man John Dyke who has not been seen since Friday (21 July).

The 61-year-old went missing after leaving work in Telford on Friday evening and has not been heard from since.

John, who lives in the Tyseley area of Birmingham is described as being around 6ft tall and is of a slim build with white hair.

He always travels by public transport and gets the train to work, it is possible John may have been seen in his work suit.

Officers are concerned for his welfare and urge anyone with information to call the Locate team on 101 ext 844 6409 or the Missing Persons charity on 116 000.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Police arrest four in Birmingham as part of crackdown on firearms and violent crime

Police in Birmingham have arrested four men over the weekend as part of their on-going crackdown on firearms and violent crime in the city.

Two men aged 28 and 25 were detained on suspicion of drug offences after officers stopped and searched a vehicle in Small Heath at 9.40pm Friday 21 July.

Officers also recovered drugs from the vehicle in Camelot Way. Both men have been released pending further investigations.

Also on Friday, officers stopped a vehicle in Bevington Road, Aston after it was seen acting suspiciously.

Two men aged 31 and 34 were arrested for firearm offences after CS gas was found in the centre console.

Superintendent Mat Shear who is leading on the crackdown said: “Our priority is to protect members of the community from people who carry weapons or commit crime. If you have any information call officers on 101.”

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Street racers narrowly avoid jail – latest road menaces snared in Operation Hercules

Three road menaces who tore along a Birmingham dual carriageway at speeds of more than 130mph have narrowly avoided being jailed for street racing.

Amar Paul, Tejinder Bhuee and Zafar Iqbal reached breakneck speeds on the A38 during an illegal road race on the night of March 5.

However, the trio were unaware they were being tailed by an unmarked police car deployed as part of Operation Hercules – a regional police campaign targeting reckless road users that’s seen hundreds of motorists handed heavy fines and driving bans.

Shocking police dash-cam footage shows Golf driver Paul, from Berrow Drive in Edgbaston, and Mercedes thrill seekers Bhuee and Iqbal – from Fitzroy Avenue, Harborne, and Victoria Road, Oldbury, respectively – hit speeds of 134mph heading towards Minworth.

Their illegal road race – started with three blasts on their car horns – saw them also tear through a 30-zone at 90mph before being intercepted by roads policing officers.

In-car police footage shows Iqbal telling an officer he thought the speed limit was “70 or 80” on the A38 but couldn’t explain why he was driving at almost twice that speed – and began playing with his phone when the PC quizzed him further.

Paul (27), Bhuee (24) and 33-year-old Iqbal went on to admit dangerous driving and street racing and at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (July 24) they were given six-month jail terms suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work.

They were also handed £1,050 in court costs and charges and were told to attend a driver rehabilitation course; all three were banned from driving for 12 months and will have to pass an extended re-test in order to get their licences back.

They had each previously been given six-month suspended jail terms and ordered to pay £750 civil court costs for breaching the Birmingham Car Cruising Injunction introduced last year across the city.

West Midlands Police PC Mark Hodson, said: “Driving at such speeds, especially in wet conditions, the spray and risk of aquaplaning, even the slightest error would result in a catastrophic collision. You can’t just walk away from crashes at that kind of speed.

“All three of these men were of previous good character, law abiding citizens with jobs. The problem we find is that some men seem to think racing like this is not an offence and are blind to the potential consequences.

“At the last hearing a judge told them to expect custodial sentences. Collectively we need to send out a strong message that it’s not acceptable for selfish drivers to use public roads as their own private race tracks and put other motorists in danger.”

Officers assigned to Operation Hercules tracked the three in convoy from their rendezvous point at Tamworth’s Ventura Retail Park at 9.15pm on Sunday March 5 along the A453 Sutton Road towards Birmingham.

And when they passed Bassetts Poll roundabout – unaware an unmarked police car was tailing them – they accelerated away at speed and quickly topped 100mph.

At one point they careered through roadworks and the temporary 40mph speed restriction signs at more than 120 miles per hour.

West Midlands Police Assistant Police & Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie said: “We have made keeping our roads safe a key priority for the police and this shows how seriously the police take the issue of street racing.

“The overwhelming majority of road users are appalled by the actions of the dangerous and inconsiderate few.”

Cllr Tristan Chatfield, Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality at Birmingham City Council, added: “Our roads are not race circuits for irresponsible people to use as they see fit. Speed kills and if you are caught using the highway dangerously the consequences can be severe.

“I pay my thanks to the officers who investigated this case – and it also shows the injunction that is in place can have a positive impact on addressing the behaviour of mindless motorists.”

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Coventry woman charged with terrorism offences

An 18-year-old Coventry woman arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences has today (Monday 24 July) been charged.

Sandeep Samra, from Alder Road, Coventry has been charged with being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism.

Samra was charged as follows; between 7 June 2017 and 6 July 2017 of being engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to her intention to commit acts of terrorism or to assist others to commit such acts, contrary Sec 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

She was arrested by detectives from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit on Tuesday 18 July. The arrest was pre-planned and intelligence-led and there was no risk to the public’s safety.

Samra will appear before Westminster Magistrates Court this afternoon.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

Appeal following car jacking in Solihull

Police are appealing for information after a woman had her car stolen during a robbery in Solihull yesterday (22 July).

The woman had stopped at a set of traffic lights on Lode Lane in a grey Audi RS6 at around 6pm when she was approached by four men who had pulled up in a car behind her.

They demanded she get out the car but she refused telling them that her baby was in the back. As the woman went to attend to her baby in the back of the car, one of the men jumped into the driver’s seat and drove the car at speed down Seven Star Road towards Warwick Road with the mother and baby still in the car.

The offenders pulled into a side road where the woman and her baby managed to escape before the offenders drove off.

The four men are described as Asian, one of the men in particular is described as being around 5ft 10ins, of a stocky build with facial stubble and wearing a navy blue tracksuit. The car they were in is described as having blacked out windows.

Detective Sergeant Stew Lewis from Force CID, said: “There were a lot of people in the area when the robbery took place and I would ask them to get in touch if they haven’t done so already.

“Luckily the woman and her baby were not hurt but the woman is very shaken by what happened.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting 20SH/155401P/17.

Source:: West Midlands Police News