Jail for thief who stole cars in East Lancashire

Kevin Yates
Kevin Yates

A prolific burglar who targeted a number of properties across East Lancashire stealing high-powered cars has been jailed.

Kevin Yates, also known as Kevin King-Yates, was sentenced to seven years in prison at Burnley Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday, July 10).

The 25-year-old, of Comrie Crescent, Burnley, was arrested in January following Operation Arrowtooth, a targeted campaign launched by police in response to his growing criminality.

Between November 2018 and January 2019, officers found evidence linking Yates to thefts across towns including Colne, Whalley, Burnley and Accrington.

Vehicles stolen included a Volkswagen Golf GTD, a Mercedes AMG, an Audi A5, Audi A4 and Audi A3 Quattro.

It is believed he was stealing the vehicles to provide to illegal workshops, also known as ‘chop shops’, to be broken up and the parts sold on.

The 25-year-old had been actively avoiding police by giving false names at hotels and moving between addresses across the region. It is believed he changed his mobile phone sim card more than 100 times to avoid detection.

Yates was finally found at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool on January 30. He was arrested and charged with five burglaries and four motor vehicle thefts.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty at court and asked for a further 51 burglaries and 32 motor vehicle thefts to be taken into consideration.

Yates was sentenced to seven years in prison for his crimes.

Det Sgt Phil McGauley, of Lancashire Police’s East Target Team, said: “We welcome the sentence handed down at court which reflects the severity of Yates’ offending and the hard work of Lancashire Police officers in bringing him to justice.

“Yates is a prolific burglar who carried out a number of offences across a three-month period in East Lancashire. We believe between mid-November and the end of January, he was linked to around 60 per cent of all motor vehicle thefts across the east of the county.

“While he admitted his involvement in nine offences, he asked more than 80 other offences were taken into consideration at court. This averaged at around one offence a day.

“He used sophisticated means to avoid detection and evade officers, with police launching a specific operation to help result in his arrest.

“The complexity involved in securing Yates’ arrest involved many hours of police work and I must praise my colleagues for their efforts in ensuring a proficient and relentless offender is off the streets.

“I want to reassure the public the East Target Team is effectively and robustly identifying, targeting and bringing to justice people who commit this type of offence.

“We will not tolerate people breaking into people’s homes and taking their property, and causing them unnecessary distress.

“During this investigation we have identified a number of other people from this network of criminality and will now be focusing our attention on them.

“I would ask the public to be vigilant and report anything they consider to be suspicious or any information they may have by calling police on 101 or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.”