A self-styled ‘professional taker’ led an ‘audacious’ plan to steal cars from a showroom in Chester .
Jordan Heatley, 28, made a living from theft ‘and was happy to boast about it’.
He roped in his friend Dale Stringer, 22, to help pinch three cars, including a £15,000 BMW, from Lookers on Sealand Road .
After scoring the keys earlier in the day, they returned in the evening to drive the vehicles away.
Heatley also tried to pull off the same trick at a garage in Preston while on bail.
Both were jailed at Chester Crown Court on June 16.
Judge Roger Dutton, the honorary recorder of Chester, said of Heatley: “You are a professional criminal and you are quite happy to boast about being a professional criminal.
“This was a planned, audacious scheme.
“It involved reccying the showroom, obtaining the keys and then recruiting others to help with the cars.
“You understand the consequences of being caught and now you must face those consequences.”
Judge Dutton added Stringer ‘played his own part’.
The pair targeted the Lookers garage on January 24, 2016.
Anna Price, prosecuting, said the keys to the cars, which were kept in a safe, must have been taken from the showroom ‘at some point during the day’.
This was because Heatley and Stringer came back after 7pm to finish the job.
They managed to get hold of a BMW 318, a Renault Captur and a Vauxhall Corsa. Their total value was just under £35,000.
The Renault was spotted speeding in Manchester at 8.40pm the same evening.
Police gave chase but the car was crashed and the driver ran away. A ‘J’ on the vehicle’s registration plate had been made to look like a ‘U’ with masking tape.
Ms Price said the BMW ‘vanished’ and Vauxhall had never been recovered. Officers suspected they had been sold off for parts.
After Heatley was arrested analysis of his phone showed it made trips to Chester and Manchester on the date in question.
In texts to his girlfriend he boasted about taking a ‘sick’ BMW and claimed it was a victimless crime. Messages also showed him making contact with Stringer about the plan.
While on bail, the 28-year-old attempted to pull off the same trick at a garage in Preston.
This time he got away from the scene with a Volkswagen van worth £30,000 before being arrested at a later date.
Heatley, of Tewkesbury Road, Manchester, admitted two counts of burglary and four of theft. He was jailed for a total of four years and eight months.
James Heyworth, defending, said his client had ‘turned his life around’ and stayed out of trouble since June last year.
He added: “Probation officers in their report have said there is more to him than his offending.
“It is his relationship with cocaine which led him to commit this sophisticated crime.
“Mr Heatley expresses remorse for involving his friend.”
Stringer, of Woodward Street, Ancoats, Manchester, had admitted three counts of theft. The 22-year-old was sentenced to nine months in prison.
Wayne Jackson, defending, said: “He had been made redundant and foolishly accepted the offer to make money even though he knew it wasn’t the right way to do it.”