A "CHOP shop" boss was caught after a tracker signal led police to the area of the industrial unit where he was braking up luxury cars.

Officers had been looking for a stolen Range Rover and its tracking device revealed it had been in the Kirkebrok Road area of Daubhill, but they could not find the vehicle.

Then, a week later on December 17, 2018, a policeman spotted Derek Doherty, who has previous convictions for handling stolen goods, driving a van nearby.

Bolton Crown Court heard how they searched the van and found several keys, including one for an industrial unit off Kirkebrok Road, which Doherty had rented in September 2018.

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Gavin Howie, prosecuting, told how, when the unit was unlocked, a Mercedes van, which had been stolen from a delivery driver in a robbery and parts of a stole Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport, were discovered.

Doherty, aged 49, of Tudor Avenue, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods and was sentenced to two years in jail.

Mr Howie told how the van had been passed on to Doherty by thieves who had taken it while its driver was delivering a parcel on December 4, 2018. The victim tried to hang onto the van door as it was being driven away.

Then, five days later, a Range Rover Evoque, parked in Chorley, was stolen, followed, the next day by the theft of a Range Rover Sport from the forecourt of Dean Smith car sales in Radcliffe.

Altogether the three vehicles were estimated to be worth more than £40,000.

An examiner established they were the vehicles found at Doherty's industrial unit.

The court heard that Doherty has previous convictions fro handling stolen goods in 1994,1997 and 2009.

"This is not the first occasion when Mr Doherty has found himself before the court in connection with dealings with other people's cars," said Mr Howie.

He added that there was a "degree of professionalism" about Doherty's enterprise as he had the vehicles' keys and had hired a unit in order to break them up.

Andrew Costello, defending, said the father-of-three has turned to crime after the break up of a 29 year relationship.

He added that the mechanic was "at a low ebb".

"He didn't set out to involve himself in an enterprise of this nature," said Mr Costello.

"He was financially strained and he allowed himself, through some associated who are readily involved in these matters, to be convinced of the merits of it, which were clearly not good."

Sentencing Doherty, Judge Graeme Smith told him: "I have no doubt at all that this is high culpability.

"You had a leading role in the sense that these were your premises. Even though you were not the one personally stealing the vehicles, you knew full well that they were stolen vehicles."