Crook films himself inside stolen car before being chased by cops in Birmingham

Credit: West Midlands Police YouTube

A criminal involved in a multi-million pound stolen car ring has been jailed after police found video of him posing inside one of the high-end vehicles.

Oliver Cooper can be seen in this footage, retrieved off his own mobile phone, inside a Range Rover Sport stolen from a retail park in Selly Oak.

As the camera swings round, showing the interior of the £55,000 car, Cooper's face comes into view.

The 23-year-old, from Northfield, was involved in at least 35 offences, from July 2021 to May 2022, in the crime spree - targeting dozens of high-performance cars, across Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell.

Among the vehicles taken were 17 Range Rovers, as well as a total of 14 Audis, Jaguars and Mercedes. In total their value was more than £4 million.

CCTV captures Cooper arriving in a stolen Ford Fiesta Credit: West Midlands Police

Some were stolen in car key burglaries, with homes being hit usually at night.

And on one occasion the owners of two Audis were threatened with a knife in their own home before handing over the keys.

Many of the vehicles were taken after being parked up at shopping centres and restaurants. 

Police were able to recover some of them and return them to their owners, like the Range Rover Sport which was taken from a retail park in Selly Oak on 27 January, 2021.

Its tracker was activated and following a pursuit by officers, it was abandoned in Grimley Road, Birmingham, where police recovered it 30 minutes after it had been taken. It was already on false plates. 

After the Fiesta pings and ANPR camera, officers pursue it

Police caught up with Cooper after he was identified from CCTV footage captured in the minutes after an offender fled a stolen Fiesta on 8 February.

The vehicle, which had been taken in Birmingham three weeks earlier, pinged an ANPR camera in Birmingham city centre and officers began a pursuit.

Officers said the doors to the car were seen to open as it hurtled through the busy streets and an offender fled.

Investigators worked with Birmingham City Council to track down CCTV from the areas we knew the offender had run into, and that footage showed the offender who we later identified as Cooper.

He was arrested at his home in Sylvan Avenue, Northfield, on 16 September, 2021 and two phones we seized from him were analysed by digital forensic experts.

He was later arrested from his home address Credit: West Midlands Police

From it, a number of items came to light – videos, messages and images relating to stolen vehicles and criminal activity. 

Mobile phone data including times and locations linked Cooper to the offences, while video recovered from the phone showed the interior of many of the stolen cars.

Experts also retrieved messages off them which listed details of the makes and models that had been taken. 

Cooper, who admitted conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to handle stolen goods, was jailed for six years and eight months Credit: West Midlands Police

Cooper, who admitted conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to handle stolen goods, was jailed for six years and eight months at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday 8 August.

DC Miller, from the Force Priorities and Vulnerabilities Team who lead the investigation said: “Cooper’s mobile phones revealed to us footage from inside many of the vehicles that he’d been involved in stealing.

“They proved a goldmine for us and was vital at helping us identify the stolen vehicles, and in some cases being able to reunite them with their owners.

“But it also proved his downfall as in one clip he is caught in the shot. It helped us link him to the offences which saw dozens of expensive cars, some valued at up to £80,000, being stolen from across Birmingham – Northfield, Rednall, Selly Oak, Stirchley, Harborne, Barnt Green, Rubery – as well as Solihull and into Halesowen and Oldbury.

“And we worked with Birmingham City Council to retrieve CCTV footage of him after he ran from a stolen car which we’d tracked through the city centre.”