Farm thief caught after police track rental van to scene of crime

A CROSS border criminal has been jailed after travelling to Powys in a hired van to steal a quad bike and tools worth more than £8,000.

Neil Cornelius Shevlin, from Telford, was traced after CCTV footage of the van linked him to the high value theft in Llanfyllin.

Dyfed-Powys Police began making enquiries into the incident when it was reported to the force in November 2019.

Officer in case PC Kevin Jones said: “We were contacted by a farmer who had noticed the gates at the entrance to his property were open, when he had closed them the previous night.

“He quickly realised a shed had been accessed, and a quad bike had been stolen. Power tools had also been taken from another shed, with the value of the stolen items totalling more than £8,000.

“This was a devastating blow to the victim.”

On conducting enquiries, officers were made aware of a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area on the night of November 26, 2019, which was linked to a hire company in Telford. A second report was also made of a dark blue transporter van, which was seen around two miles from the targeted farm on the night of the theft.

PC Jones said: “We made contact with the van hire company, and thanks to a tracker on the vehicle we were able to see that it was driven into the postcode areaand was stationary at the time of the offence.

“Actions were taken to trace the driver of the van, with an arrest made by our colleagues at West Mercia Police.”

Shevlin was further arrested for a burglary which occurred just three days later in the Stafford area, with trackers showing him in areas where large amounts of stolen goods were hidden.

In December 2019, the 27-year-old was charged with the Stafford burglary, and pleaded guilty at court.

On October 5, 2020, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison at Mold Crown court for the Llanfyllin burglary, and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge.

“Despite extensive enquiries, we were unable to trace the stolen quad bike, which was disappointing as we were able to return the other items,” PC Jones said.

“However, thanks to CCTV footage of the hire van in the area and information provided by a tracker, we were still able to charge and convict Shevlin with this theft.

“This was an excellent outcome, resulting in a cross-border criminal being sentenced to 16 months in jail.

“We were made aware that the victim had purchased a new quad bike, and as part of our ongoing work to safeguard rural communities a visit was arranged to offer crime prevention advice and ensure the vehicle was security marked.”

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