A criminal who fled to Spain after being arrested for handling stolen vehicles has been jailed for over three years.

Luke Gilleeney, from Gravesend, was charged with offences in January 2015 but failed to answer bail and went on the run to Marbella in Spain.

The 33-year-old had been arrested the month before when his fingerprints were found on a false registration plate attached to a stolen Range Rover, which officers located close to Gilleeney’s home address in Grange Road.

Gilleeney-desktop
Luke Gilleeney

Days later Kent Police was notified of another stolen Range Rover being advertised for sale, which was again found near Gilleeney’s home next to a stolen Audi Q3 and another vehicle registered to a member of the offender’s family.

The combined value of the three stolen vehicles was around £111,000.

Gilleeney was re-arrested and admitted in interview that he had taken possession of the vehicles on behalf of other unnamed associates and was attempting to sell them on. He was released on bail whilst the matter was being prepared for court but then fled the country for several years.

It was later established that Gilleeney had returned to the UK, and he was arrested at a new address in Meopham in December 2021.

Guilty

After pleading guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods and failing to surrender, Gilleeney was sentenced to 38-and-a-half months in prison when he appeared for sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday 3 May 2022.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Donovan said: ‘The theft of a motor vehicle can be very damaging for the victims concerned and leave them feeling unsafe in their own homes.

‘Whilst Luke Gilleeney is not alleged to have stolen any vehicles himself, he has shown he is more than willing to receive such criminal property in an attempt to sell them on and make money he is not entitled to.

‘This case sends a strong message that whilst some criminals may choose to run and hide from the consequences of their actions, justice will always catch up with them in the end.’

By Ed

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