A gang of prolific car thieves has been caught red-handed after posting photos on Facebook that showed individuals posing on the bonnets of valuable stolen vehicles and flashing wads of cash.
The gang stole nine cars in total – including BMWs, Range Rovers, Porsches and a £80,000 Mercedes C63 AMG – as well as phones, laptops and jewellery in 15 separate burglaries in some of London's wealthiest areas.
It didn't take long for detectives to catch up with the foolhardy thieves as one gang member posted a photograph of himself leaning on the bonnet of a stolen Range Rover.
The picture then led to a web of similar images that littered the social network site, all portraying various gang members boasting about their newfound wealth.
Images showed the men hanging out of stolen cars, sitting on bonnets, swigging champagne and in one photo, biting into a sandwich stuffed with £20 notes.
Police then searched all of the offending members mobile phones and found videos of the gang racing stolen vehicles and bragging about which cars they had their eye on next.
Seven of the men pleaded guilty to the burglaries earlier this year. Another man, Rory Mason, 18, denied any involvement in the plot to steal the cars but was found guilty by a jury last month.
Isleworth Crown Court heard how the men focussed their attention on houses where valuable cars were kept.
Between April and September last year they broke into homes in Notting Hill, Kensington and Kensal Green, and stole nine cars as well as electrical goods and jewellery.
Mark Paltenghi, prosecuting, said: "It seems quite plain from looking at the evidence that the principal, but not sole aim, was to target houses where valuable cars were kept. Car keys were stolen from the houses and the cars were driven away."
Kalan Williamson, 20, described as the 'principal conspirator', pleaded guilty to 11 of the burglaries.
Footage from a police helicopter showing Williamson running away from officers and dropping the key to a stolen Land Rover Discovery was used in court.
Kalan Williamson, from Chelsea, Conor Murphy, 19, from north Kensington, Niah George, 18, from Hammersmith, Jonathan Oriba, 20, from Notting Hill, Akil Ford, 20, from Clapham, Daniel Talbot, 23, from north Kensington and Yassin Imlahi, 19, from Kensington, all pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Kalan Williamson was jailed for four years and eight months, Conor Murphy was handed a four year detention order for conspiracy and eight months for dangerous driving.