Car park thieves who stole more than 300 golf clubs, 11 guitars, tools and an antique violin jailed

McTigue and French targeted vehicles Credit: Kent Police

Two men who stole high value items from more than 20 vehicles across Kent have been jailed.

Michael McTique and William French stole property from unsuspecting motorists between October 2022 and April 2023.

During that time they made off with golfing equipment, tools and an antiuque violin valued at more than £10k.

They were arrested on 12 May, during an investigation by the West Kent Victim Based Crime Team, when search warrants were executed at three properties in Berkshire and south-east London.

Police uncovered that the duo had stolen more than 300 golf clubs, 11 guitars and high value tools during their searches.

Officers also gathered evidence which also showed French had contacted a specialist musical instrument shop in Oxford, shortly after the theft of the violin.

He travelled to the shop on 18 April where the violin was sold. The item was later recovered and returned to the victim.

French sold the stolen violin at a shop in Oxford Credit: Kent Police

Both men were charged with conspiracy to steal. French was also charged with four counts of theft.

McTigue, 36, of McMillan Steet, Deptford, London and French, 36, of Spackman Close, Thatcham, Berkshire pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court.

On Tuesday 3 October, McTigue was sentenced to two years and six months’ imprisonment and French was jailed for three years.

Investigating officer, PC Stuart Hosiene, said: "Our investigation has linked at least 23 separate offences to McTigue and French. They would target multi-story car parks or private complexes, before smashing the windows of vehicles and stealing items of high value.

"Both men have an extensive criminal history for these types of offences, often involving the theft of golfing equipment worth several thousand pounds. Whilst we have thankfully been able to return a number of these items to their rightful owners, sadly much of what they stole is still missing.

"We are working hard to ensure justice does not end with these prison sentences. Both men will now be subject to investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act and this will be used to try and claw back any benefits they may have gained from their criminal activities."

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